SDG 6 - Clean water and sanitation

SDG 6

Ensure access to water and sanitation for all

Clean, accessible water for all is an essential part of the world we want to live in. There is sufficient fresh water on the planet to achieve this. But due to bad economics or poor infrastructure, every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Water scarcity, poor water quality and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, worsening hunger and malnutrition.

By 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of fresh water.

Facts and Figures

  • 2.6 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources since 1990, but 663 million people are still without
  • At least 1.8 billion people globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally contaminated
  • Between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source has increased from 76 per cent to 91 per cent
  • But water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. Over 1.7 billion people are currently living in river basins where water use exceeds recharge
  • 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
  • Hydropower is the most important and widely-used renewable source of energy and as of 2011, represented 16 per cent of total electricity production worldwide
  • Approximately 70 per cent of all water abstracted from rivers, lakes and aquifers is used for irrigation
  • Floods and other water-related disasters account for 70 per cent of all deaths related to natural disasters

Space-based technologies for SDG 6

Water conservation and management are among the most critical issues facing humankind.Space technology can help analyse global water cycles, map water courses, and monitor and mitigate the effects of floods and droughts. Since 2008, UNOOSA, together with the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, organizes conferences on the use of space technology for water management and this web portal is among the results of this cooperation.

Moreover, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is one of the Regional Support Offices of UN-SPIDER. Read more here.

 

 

SDG 6 Targets

Learn more about the SDGs

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Related Content

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Interview with Dr. Pietro Campana

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Interview with Basuti Gerty Bolo

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Interview with Lukas Graf

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PSIPW Announces Winners for its 9th Award (2020)

On 26 July 2020, the Prize Council Chairman Dr. Badran Al-Omar, under the direction of PSIPW President HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, announced the winners for the 9th Award (2020) of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW).

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Interview with Prof. Hesham El-Askary

Prof. Hesham El-Askary works at Chapman University in the Earth Systems Science Data Solutions (ESsDs) lab. Here, he supervises students on the use of satellite earth observations for topics including agriculture, water resources, air quality and climate action, and makes use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Prof. El-Askary is researching natural and anthropogenic pollution’s influence on the environment and is particularly interested in the concept of “glocal” impact—how what’s happening globally in terms of climate affects us locally. He believes that one of the biggest challenges in implementing sustainable water management is the lack of data to monitor progress, and advocates for space technologies to mitigates this shortage.  

Interview with Simonetta di Pippo

Simonetta di Pippo, Director of UNOOSA, has experience in the space sector for around 40 years. She has been involved in some very instrumental missions, from those which helped to discover water on Mars, to landing on and exploring a comet, to those that helped sustain human life on the ISS. Her aspiration in life is to have a profession that allows her to work and learn at the same time, with her current career affording her this dream. Curiosity and diversity are both crucial in her opinion for innovation and it is her personal and professional goal to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers.

Water Quality Indicators – an Overview

Clean drinking water is a precious resource. It is the basis of our daily life and decides like no other substance about our health and well-being. It is therefore important to ensure that the water for everyday use meets the highest quality criteria. But what is meant by the term water quality and how can water quality be measured and compared? This question will be addressed and explained in more detail in the following sections.

Interview with Prof. Rita Colwell

Prof. Rita Colwell’s career has been dedicated to providing safe water to rural communities, with a focus on cholera, after studying marine microbiology. Through her work, she and her team developed a model that employs satellite sensing to monitor the environmental factors associated with cholera. Prof. Colwell is also Director of the National Science Foundation and is a proponent of an educated society and increasing the number of women and minorities in STEM. For her, the most exciting aspect of her current work is assisting countries such as Yemen in predicting the risk of cholera outbreaks, however she believes one challenge that remains is the poor understanding of how effective the use of satellite sensos are for predicting the risk of such water borne diseases.

Women, water and space: The first geospatial rally for women in rural aqueducts

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Interview with Prof. Emerita Kristine M. Larson

Prof. Larson’s career has been focussed on using the Global Positioning System, and more recently using GPS to measure hydrological parameters, such as water levels in lakes, rivers, and the ocean, soil water content, and the depth of snow. To innovate, she Emerita believes a willingness to be different is key. She feels strongly about bringing space technologies closer to people by communicating better the important role that space technologies play and by making measurements from satellites easier for people to access.

Hydro-diplomacy: The role of space-derived data in advancing water security

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Space Technology: A Tool for Epidemiology

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Urban Water Scarcity: How data from NASA’s GRACE-FO Mission can be used for (near) real time water management

As population becomes larger the demand for water soars, including water needed for domestic, industrial and municipal uses (Mogelgaard 2011). One example of that, is India, where on 20 June 2019 the city of Chennai almost run out of water. Satellite images show the extent of the water shortage in the city (figure 1). While people are queuing up to get water from water trucks that transfer water to the city, the greatest struggle is taking place in the city’s municipal buildings and businesses. Hospitals are facing the threat of not having enough water to treat patients and to clean equipment, and businesses are forced to shut down and wait until the crisis is over.

The impact of space-based internet communications constellations on water

Imagine a world where your internet is delivered not through cables or cell towers but a vast swarm of orbiting satellites. That world is a very different place. Political borders are no longer communication boundaries. Your phone works just as well in the US as it does in Nigeria and Australia and Cambodia. You can communicate with people on the other side of the planet near the physical limits of information transmission, unconstrained by slow cable networks.

Global Precipitation Mission: Improved, accurate and timely global precipitation information

Continuous and reliable global precipitation information is crucial for myriad of weather, climate and hydrological applications. The importance of precipitation in the form of rain, hail, sleet, snow etc. is known to science and clear to a layman. However, it’s quite tricky to measure past precipitation trends or predicting accurate future forecasts. There are three main categories of precipitation data sets available: ground based, satellite-based and blended products of ground and space data (Climate Data Guide, 2014).

Leveraging space technologies to monitor plastic pollution in oceans

 

Several ongoing projects are trying to detect plastic pollution in oceans by using Space technology

The ocean is where life began. It is home to the majority of the Earth’s plants and animals. However, there is currently another habitant endangering all species living under and above water. Humans included. The habitant is called “Plastic”. Plastic’s largest market is packaging designed for immediate disposal (Sigogneau-Russell, 2003).

Wastewater recycling on the ISS and in Singapore

 

How would you feel about drinking your own urine? To most, it is a measure that would only be taken in the direst of circumstances. However, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have been drinking recycled urine every day for the past decade. In 2008, the ISS installed the Water Recovery System, a wastewater recycling device which converts urine, sweat, and atmospheric moisture into drinking water. This device has allowed the ISS to be much more self-sufficient and devices like it could serve to more sustainably produce clean water on Earth.  

Use of space-based technology to search for alternate sources of water in Tharparkar

In Pakistan’s southern province, Sindh, lies the world’s only fertile desert in the world. The Tharparkar Desert stretches till the southeastern parts of Punjab, joining the Cholistan Desert. Tharparkar District is the largest of 29 districts in Sindh. According to Integrated Water Resource Management Practices to Alleviate Poverty – A Model of Desert Development in Tharparkar, Pakistan, the Thar is, people of Thar, have their livelihoods dependent on 'rainfall and livestock rearing, which is critical to household food security.'

Event

The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) 9th Awards Ceremony

PSIPW 9th Award (2020)

The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) is an international award focusing on water-related scientific innovation and judged by leading scientists from around the world. Five prizes are bestowed every two years.

This event is being held virtually in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the “Implementation of the Water-Related Goals and Targets of the 2030 Agenda.”

 

W12 Congress Event

Software/Tool/(Web-)App

ISME-HYDRO Software/Tool/(Web-)App

ISME-HYDRO

ISME-HYDRO is a platform that helps monitor water resources of dams, thus enabling water resources managers to better execute their duties. It employs linked data infrastructure integrating in-situ measurements, satellite data, GIS data, domain knowledge, deep learning, and provides capabilities of forecasting of water volumes, of alerting for hazardous situations, of interaction with the data through four kinds of search and GIS interactivity. The platform is easily extendable and customizable.

JAXA Climate Rainfall Watch Software/Tool/(Web-)App

JAXA Climate Rainfall Watch

A need to monitor precipitation extremes from space is widely recognized, especially for regions where ground-based observations are limited or unavailable. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has developed the Global Satellite Mapping of Precipitation (GSMaP) in the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. The JAXA participated in the Space-based Weather and Climate Extremes Monitoring (SWCEM) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) by providing the GSMaP Near-real-time Rainfall Product.

Hydrologic deep learning toolbox Software/Tool/(Web-)App

Capacity Building and Training Material

ARSET - Mapping and Monitoring Lakes and Reservoirs with Satellite Observations

Overview:

Natural lakes and man-made reservoirs are a part of Earth’s surface water. Freshwater lakes and reservoirs are used for drinking water, fishing, and recreational activities. Aside from the aesthetic and scenic value added by their presence, lakes support surrounding plant and aquatic ecosystems and wildlife. A variety of factors affect lakes and reservoirs, including climate variability and change, land use, and other watershed activities influencing surface runoff and groundwater.

ARSET - Integrating Remote Sensing into a Water Quality Monitoring Program

Overview:

These training webinars will focus on integrating NASA Earth observations into water quality monitoring decision making processes. This will include a brief overview of data products used for water quality monitoring, an overview of aquatic remote sensing-specific criteria, methods and best practices, obtaining NASA Earth observation data for water quality monitoring, and practical skill building in image processing for water quality monitoring of coastal and larger inland water bodies. 

ARSET - Processing Satellite Imagery for Monitoring Water Quality

Overview:

Polluted water influences all aspects of life, including people, animals, and the environment. NASA satellite observations provide near real-time information about water quality. This freely available data can help decision-makers in their work. Satellite data can have applications for managing drinking water, public health, and fisheries.

ARSET - Remote Sensing of Drought Capacity Building and Training Material

ARSET - Remote Sensing of Drought

Overview:

Prolonged drought can result in economic, environmental, and health-related impacts. In these training webinars, participants will learn how to monitor drought conditions and assess impacts on the ecosystem using precipitation, soil moisture, and vegetation data. The training will provide an overview of drought classification, as well as an introduction to web-based tools for drought monitoring and visualization.

Objective:

By the end of the training, participants will be able to:

ARSET - Groundwater Monitoring using Observations from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Missions

Overview:

Groundwater makes up roughly 30% of global freshwater. It also provides drinking water for the world’s population, and irrigation for close to 1/3rd of global agricultural land. Because of this level of reliance, monitoring groundwater is crucial for water resources and land management. The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE-Follow On (GRACE-FO) missions from NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) provide large-scale terrestrial water storage estimation from mid-2000 to present.

ARSET - Using Earth Observations to Monitor Water Budgets for River Basin Management

Rivers are a major source of freshwater. They support aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, provide transportation, and generate hydropower. Managing river basin watersheds is critical for developing policies for sustainable water allocation and development. Over the online course of four sessions, this introductory webinar series will address using satellite data and Earth system modelling data sources to estimate surface water budgets

ARSET - Introduction to Using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC)Hydrologic Model with NASA Earth Observations

Overview:

Hydrologic modeling is useful for flood, drought, and water resources management. The Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) Model uses inputs to better understand hydrological processes in near real-time. Many of the inputs are available from NASA remote sensing and Earth system models, allowing the model to provide soil moisture, evapotranspiration, and runoff as outputs. Together with precipitation data, these outputs provide quantitative assessment of a regional water budget.

UN SPIDER Recommended Practice: Use of Digital Elevation Data for Storm Surge Coastal Flood Modelling

Overview:

Storm surges and tidal waves are global phenomena that considerably affect human populations in coastal and island regions. According to the Guide to Storm Surge Forecasting published by the World Meteorological Organization in 2011, storm surges can be defined as “oscillations of the water level in a coastal or inland body of water in the time range of a few minutes to a few days, resulting from forcing from atmospheric weather systems. According to this definition, the so-called wind waves, which have durations on the order of several seconds, are excluded”.

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Flood Hazard Assessment Capacity Building and Training Material

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Flood Hazard Assessment

Overview:

Flood hazard assessments are critical to identifying areas at risk and taking relevant preparation and mitigation measures to address the hazard. Using the HEC-RAS 2D model for preparing flood hazard maps, this Recommended Practice explains how to identify flood-prone areas and exposed infrastructure. Through its focus on the prevention and mitigation stages of the disaster management cycle, it complements the Recommended Practice on Flood Mapping and Damage Assessment with Sentinel-2, also developed by SUPARCO.

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Exposure Mapping Capacity Building and Training Material

UN SPIDER Recommended Best Practice: Exposure Mapping

Overview:

Mapping the extent of a natural hazard (e.g., assessing areas with a high risk) or disaster is a first step in disaster risk management and emergency response. Subsequently, exposure mapping enables the estimation of the impact of hazards or disasters, for example, regarding the number of affected inhabitants or infrastructure. The following practice shows the use of Quantum GIS to analyze a disaster extent map in combination with auxiliary data such as population or land cover data.

UN-SPIDER Best Practice: Disaster Preparedness Using Free Software Extensions

Overview:

Remote sensing technologies can support all stages of the disaster management cycle. In the prevention and preparedness phases, they often find their application in risk assessments, scenario modelling and early warning. This UN-SPIDER Recommended Practice explains how remote sensing data about recurring floods, information about infrastructure and socio-economic data can be integrated using free and open source software to support prevention and preparedness efforts.

Programming for Geospatial Hydrological Applications Capacity Building and Training Material

Programming for Geospatial Hydrological Applications

Overview:

In this self-paced online course, the participants will be introduced to the Programming for Geospatial Hydrological Applications. Participants will learn an essential skill for researchers dealing with (spatial) data. With scripting participants will be able to better control analysis using command line tools. They can also automate their procedures by writing batch scripts. Furthermore, participants can process their data and make models using Python and its useful libraries

QGIS Advanced Tutorials Capacity Building and Training Material

QGIS et Applications en Hydrologie Capacity Building and Training Material

QGIS et Applications en Hydrologie

Le cours comprend 7 leçons. Chaque leçon présente un cas d'application, suivi d'une partie théorique SIG illustrée avec des vidéos. Ceux-ci seront suivis par un tutoriel pratique présentant les nombreuses fonctionnalités offertes par QGIS. Les leçons se terminent par des recettes de style des cartes qui fournissent une base solide dans les capacités cartographiques robustes de QGIS. Des astuces telles que les remplissages suivant la forme de polygone inversé, les paramètres d'étiquette avancés et les modes de fusion sont abordées.

Introduction to the GEO Knowledge Hub - Webinar Capacity Building and Training Material

Introduction to the GEO Knowledge Hub - Webinar

GEO Knowledge Hub Webinar Series

The first GEO Knowledge Hub (GKH) webinar, on the 24th February 2021, introduced the GKH in its current stage of development.

Objective

The goal was to provide a user perspective based on input from the Knowledge Providers, notably to outline GKH capabilities and benefits to the GEO community.

Topics

Topics included:

Webinar: Groundwater for Water Security in Africa Capacity Building and Training Material

Webinar: Groundwater for Water Security in Africa

Overview

This webinar is meant to contribute to the AMCOW Pan African Groundwater Programme (APAGroP) and its various capacity building actions. The webinar is intended to support African Member States and other relevant stakeholders to develop and implement evidence-based groundwater policy and practice in Africa for improved lives and livelihoods. 

Data Recipes & Short Tutorials Capacity Building and Training Material

Data Recipes & Short Tutorials

Overview

Data recipes are video tutorials that include step-by-step instructions to help users learn how to discover, access, subset, visualize and use Earth science data, information, tools and services. These recipes cover many different data products across the Earth science disciplines and different processing languages/software.
 

FAO CB4WA: Use of FAO WaPOR Portal Capacity Building and Training Material

FAO CB4WA: Use of FAO WaPOR Portal

Overview

Welcome to the open access course Use of FAO WaPOR Portal from IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). WaPOR is the portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open-access of Remotely sensed derived data and has been developed by FAO. The FAO’s WaPOR programme assists countries in monitoring water productivity, identifying water productivity gaps, proposing solutions to reduce these gaps, and contributing to a sustainable increase in agricultural production.

ARSET - Fundamentals of Remote Sensing Capacity Building and Training Material

Water Productivity and Water Accounting using WaPOR Capacity Building and Training Material

Water Productivity and Water Accounting using WaPOR

Water Productivity and Water Accounting using WaPOR (the portal to monitor Water Productivity through Open-access of Remotely sensed derived data) is an open online course targeting practitioners and academicians who are working in water resources management and related fields and have interest in applying open access remote sensing data and other open data to assess the water resources situation and water productivity and the extent to which water productivity increases have an effect on different water users in a river basin context.

Introduction to Modflow and Model Use Capacity Building and Training Material

Introduction to Modflow and Model Use

This course provides basic knowledge about MODFLOW and Model Muse, which can be used to develop, run, and post-process models. MODFLOW in Model Muse combines many of the capabilities found in MODFLOW 6, MODFLOW-2005, MODFLOW-NWT, MODFLOW-USG, and MODFLOW-LGR, and provides a platform for adding packages.

Data Sharing for Water Sector Organisations using Spatial Data Infrastructures

Overview

Integrated Water Resources Management requires exchange of data and information among sectors. Often data is stored in files on harddisks, CD-ROMs or DVDs. This makes it hard to find the data. In addition, metadata is often lacking, which makes it hard to evaluate the quality of the data and to reuse the data. A Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) can enable water sector organisations to improve the exchange of data within and among organisations.

Water Quality Assessment Capacity Building and Training Material

Water Quality Assessment

Module

This module consists of four Courses with mainly theoretical background and one Course with a final assignment. Following the DPSIR structure (Driving forces, Pressures, State, Impact and Response), we will look first at some causes and consequences of water pollution and then learn how to measure and evaluate water pollution.

Webinar: Linking Global Water Security to Nature Capacity Building and Training Material

Webinar: Linking Global Water Security to Nature

Due to climate change, population growth, increasing urbanization etc., many lakes, rivers, wetlands and coastal basins globally are becoming more stressed from pollution, depleting water resources, global warming, increased floods and droughts, and increasing ecological and biological disruptions.

Afri Alliance Knowledge Hub Capacity Building and Training Material

Afri Alliance Knowledge Hub

The AfriAlliance project aims to better prepare Africa for future climate change challenges by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development. Rather than creating new networks, the 16 EU and African partners in this project are consolidating existing ones, consisting of scientists, decision makers, practitioners, citizens, and other key stakeholders, into an effective, problem-focused knowledge sharing mechanism.

Water Diplomacy, a Tool for Climate Action? Capacity Building and Training Material

Water Diplomacy, a Tool for Climate Action?

In this SIWI World Water Week workshop organised by adelphi and IHE Delft, experts from the diplomacy, development, security, climate change and water communities discussed the conditions under which specific diplomatic tools can be used by riparian and non-riparian countries to shape regional cooperation to address climate, and other security and development challenges, such as migration.

Using satellite data for water management Capacity Building and Training Material

Using satellite data for water management

Water utilities and the populations they serve are facing a range of dynamic pressures, as catchment areas are affected by global climate change and local land use changes, with consequences on water sources upstream. How can we use satellite information to manage upstream processes that could affect the quality of drinking water sources?

Publication

Stakeholder

Deepwaters.ai Stakeholder

Deepwaters.ai

DeepWaters AI uses satellite data and AI to find underground drinking water and pipe leaks. It has created a map of the Earth’s underground water, with up to 98% accuracy. It was awarded a European Space Agency AI Kickstart contract in 2018. DeepWaters AI is supported by Esri, Amazon and Nvidia startup programs. It is a UK based social impact startup, that donates 51% of profits to water philanthropy. DeepWaters AI combines neural networks with ESA Sentinel 1 & 2 satellite data.

Water, Peace and Security Partnership

WPS is a partnership of research and civil society organizations that work together towards identifying water-related risks of human insecurity, fragility and conflict, and towards developing analytical and dialogue tools for preventing and mitigating such conflicts. WPS is a collaboration between the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a consortium of six partners: IHE Delft (lead partner), World Resources Institute (WRI), Deltares, The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS), Wetlands International and International Alert.

Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

Water Accounting + Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

Water Accounting +

Water problems around the world are increasing; however, information useful for decision makers within the water sector and related to the water sector seems to be decreasing. Solving water problems requires information from many disciplines, and the physical accounts (describing sources and uses of water) are the most important foundation. The information has to be coherent and harmonized in order to provide an integrated picture useful for the assessment of the problems.

Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

Africa-EU Innovation Alliance for Water and Climate

The AfriAlliance project aims to better prepare Africa for future climate change challenges by having African and European stakeholders work together in the areas of water innovation, research, policy, and capacity development. Rather than creating new networks, the 16 EU and African partners in this project are consolidating existing ones, consisting of scientists, decision makers, practitioners, citizens, and other key stakeholders, into an effective, problem-focused knowledge sharing mechanism.

e-shape Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

e-shape

e-shape is a unique initiative that brings together decades of public investment in Earth Observation and in cloud capabilities into services for the decision-makers, the citizens, the industry and the researchers. It allows Europe to position itself as global force in Earth observation through leveraging Copernicus, making use of existing European capacities and improving user uptake of the data from GEO assets.  EuroGEO, as Europe's contribution to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), aims at bringing together Earth Observation resources in Europe.

In-Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals Project / Mission / Initiative / Community Portal

In-Service ICT Training for Environmental Professionals

Decision-makers are faced with the constant challenge of maintaining access to and understanding new technologies and data, as information and communication technologies (ICTs) are constantly evolving and as more and more data is becoming available. Despite continually improving technologies, informed decision-making is being hindered by inadequate attention to enabling conditions, e.g. a lack of in-service education and professional training for decision-makers.