GOAL 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

  • 6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
  • 6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
  • 6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
  • 6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
  • 6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
  • 6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
  • 6.a By 2030, expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies
  • 6.b Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

SDG Progress and Industry Notes


The 2018 Report of the Secretary-General on Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, notes that “Too many people still lack access to safely managed water and sanitation facilities. Water scarcity, flooding, and lack of proper management of wastewater hinder social and economic development. Increasing water efficiency and improving water management are critical to balancing the competing and growing water demands from various sectors and users.”

“In 22 countries (mostly in Northern Africa, Western Asia and Central and Southern Asia), water stress—defined as the ratio of fresh water withdrawn to total renewable freshwater resources—is above 70 percent, which indicates strong probability of future water scarcity. In 15 of these countries, withdrawals totaled more than 100 per cent of the renewable freshwater resources in the country.”

See Link

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF, 2.1 billion people lack access to safe, readily available water at home and 4.5 billion lack safely managed sanitation. The UN predicts that by 2050 global demand for fresh water will grow by more than 40% and at least a quarter of the world’s population will live in countries with a “chronic or recurrent” lack of clean water.

The SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018 on Water and Sanitation is available at Link 

Industry Notes

Water is necessary for all stages of the textile supply chain. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe told delegates attending a recent event that the fashion industry is the world’s second-biggest user of water and produces 20 percent of global wastewater. See “Fashion and the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for the U.N.?

Apparel and textiles are produced in some of the most water-scarce regions of the world, such as China, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, making this this Goal is of high priority for the Textile Industry. The agricultural phase of the Textile value chain requires significant amounts of water for fiber production. Among the water-consuming sectors, irrigation accounts for 70% of the total water use worldwide.

The nexus to food and energy will require the textile industry to engage in a holistic and collaborative cross-sector approach to address the growing clean water shortfall. Innovative approaches to reduce water use, re-use water and replenish resources must be implemented by all actors in the textile value chain, including at the agricultural level which, in general, consumes a large percentage of water in the textile life cycle. To learn more, see list of Industry Initiatives under SDG 6 and SDG 12.

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