Clean water and sanitation

Clean water and sanitation

Technical Advisory Group Member, Richard Brice, introduces SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation.


Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

UN SDG 6 recognises that provision of clean water and sanitation is a basic human need and fundamental to wellbeing and productivity. Many people around the world have no access to clean water or pay for bottled water, which is substantially more expensive than the cost of providing a reticulated water system; this issue is a key driver for poverty. Only a third of people have access to clean and safe sanitation services, a lack of which results in disease and vulnerable situations, particularly for women and girls.

The key targets for SDG 6 are to:

  • achieve safe and affordable drinking water
  • end open defecation and provide access to sanitation and hygiene
  • improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse
  • increase water-use efficiency and ensure freshwater supplies
  • implement integrated water resource management
  • protect and restore water related ecosystems
  • expand water and sanitation support to developing countries
  • support local engagement in water and sanitation management.

The role of chemical engineers

Chemical engineers are essential for delivering safe and sustainable water and sanitation for all. We have skills in developing processes and materials to do this more efficiently to enable usage in various scenarios. Treatment and water resources rely heavily on mass balances and we can integrate food, water and energy.

We can achieve this while respecting local cultures, ensuring engagement with local communities to get an optimal and appropriate outcome.