Blog: Amplify

17 Days, 17 Goals: Goal 6 - Water

Goal 6: Water and Sanitation

- Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all -

Sustainable Development Goal 6 Water and Sanitation

This post is part of our blog series: 17 Days, 17 Goals. The blog series features foundations working on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals leading up to the first anniversary of the SDGs. The Council on Foundations Sustainable Development Goals & Philanthropy initiative is in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Find us on social media with #PhilSDGs.

Why do we need Goal 6?

  • At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated
  • 2.4 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines
  • More than 80 per cent of wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any pollution removal
  • Each day, nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related  diarrhoeal diseases
  • Floods and other water-related disasters account for 70 per cent of all deaths related to natural disasters
  • Unsafe levels of lead, like those that sparked the Flint Water Crisis, are turning up in cities throughout the US

What are some of the targets?

  • By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
  • By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
  • 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
  • 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

Featured: & Water Funders Initiative

Water is the most essential ingredient for life. Though every being on Earth relies on water for health, economic vitality, and survival. However, millions of people worldside are without access to safe drinking water and healthy sanitation systems. Goal 6: Water and Sanitation is both an obviously universal issue, but also a local one, as evidenced most recently in the US by Flint, Michigan's drinking water contamination. Stories like Flint's exhibit how much work has to be done in the United States on this and other SDGs. As important as this goal is, it comprises only 2% of funding for the SDGs from foundations 2010-2013, according to the Foundation Center. 

Much as the SDGs will require global cross-sector collaboration and engagement across foundations, water is a cross-border issue that requires strategic partnerships and collaboration amongst organizations. Two large collaboratives around water are working both globally, and within the United States. is a "one-stop" shop for funders working on water and sanitation issues. Operated by the Foundation Center, this site brings together stories and data of the progress being made with water issues around the world. Those featured fund projects like, which operates a microfinancing program for household plumbing and wells. Around the world, foundations and communities are tackling the important issues around water and sanitation.

WASHfunders and the Sustainable Development Goals

Water Funders Initiative

Water Funders Initiative (WFI) is a US-focused effort to solve water scarcity and availability issues. Specifically, the goals of WFI are to:

  • Identify priority strategies for water-related philanthropy
  • Engage funders and support coordinated action on priority strategies
  • Increase support for priority strategies over time

WFI recognizes the interconnectedness of water and other development areas, such as health, energy, urbanization, and food (Goals 3, 7, 11, and 2, respectively). To guide the philanthropic sector in addressing water issues, WFI has published Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy.

Water Funders Initiative

Both of these collective efforts are excellent examples of how partnerships will enable the success of the goals, as prescribed in Goal 17: Partnerships

Resources & Information

  1. United Nations
  2. New York Times


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