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  • Writer's pictureCaterina Sullivan

#Goal6: #CleanWater and #Sanitation

Updated: Nov 3, 2018

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was visiting from overseas. I wanted to take him to City Beach one evening to show him the impressive new building development on the beachfront.

Unfortunately, it was raining, but we went anyway. We wandered around and admired the incredible building which has only recently been opened.

While exploring the new area, I was deeply embarrassed by what my friend noticed next…


In the middle of somewhat heavy rain for this time of year, the sprinklers at City Beach were still running.

It screamed wastefulness.

Australia, along with many other places around the world, is currently going through a water crisis: we simply don’t have enough rainfall. While we are lucky to be able to turn on the tap and, more often than not, have an ample supply of clean water running, this may not be sustainable into the future if we don’t act now.

The Global Goals aim to achieve clean water and sanitation for all. This includes having fresh, clean water which is safe to drink. Not all Australians have access to this.

In April of 2015, two Australian parents tragically experienced this firsthand. Jodi and Laine Keough lost their one year old son, Cash, to primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a waterborne disease. “For many rural people, the use of untreated fresh water is a widespread and accepted way of life,” states the Lincoln Cash website, set-up to increase awareness of fresh waterborne diseases in rural Australia.

Unfortunately, Cash’s story is not an isolated incident. There have been several lives lost to untreated fresh water in rural Australia.

Goal 6 also focuses on providing adequate and sanitation and hygiene facilities, something which can be taken for granted by many people living in the city but something which is not always a reality for those living in remote communities around the country.

Image credit: Frank Kehren

Image credit: Frank Kehren

Target 6.3 of the Global Goals aims to improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising the release of hazardous chemicals and materials. This particular target also aims to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe reuse of water globally.

In Australia, dumping is regulated by requiring permits, but it is not illegal. This is a policy issue which the Global Goals Australia Campaign aims to address over the next 15 years.

Target 6.4 aims to increase water-use efficiency. This goes back to those sprinklers on when it was raining. This is a fantastic way in which people can take part in achieving the Global Goals in their own homes. Do you turn your sprinklers off when it rains? Do you wash down the pavement instead of sweeping? Do you use the dishwasher for only a few dishes when it would save water to hand wash them? There are so many ways you can reflect on the things you do in your own life to save water. This goes for private companies and corporations and other organisations as well!

The Global Goals also encourage the implementation of integrated water resources management at all levels, including through trans-boundary cooperation as appropriate.

Finally, by 2020, we must protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes. While a lot of Australia’s landscape is quite dry, we still have many not only picturesque but vital water-related ecosystems which are necessary for the sustainability of the planet. It is our aim that in the next 5 years, these are protected and restored.

Image credit: Daniel Palmer

Image credit: Daniel Palmer

The best way to do this is through supporting and strengthening the participation of all communities in improving water and sanitation management. We must also expand international cooperation and capacity-building to support developing countries in water and sanitation-related activities and programmes. These activities include, but are not limited to, water-harvesting, desalination, water-efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies.

If Australia’s commitment to implementing sustainable water management practices and ensuring clean water and sanitation for all sounds like something with which you would like to become involved, check out “Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation” and head over to our “What Can I Do?” page to see how you can become part of the solution with the Global Goals Australia Campaign!

This article was originally published on the Global Goals Australia Campaign website.


#globalgoals #goal6 #cleanwater #sanitation

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