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Water is fundamental to food production and ecosystem services as well as vital for industrial production and energy generation. However, nearly 700 million people currently lack access to clean drinking water, 2.3 billion lack access to improved sanitation services and around 1,000 children under five die every day as a result of lack of access to clean water and adequate sanitation services (WHO, 2015,  World Bank, 2015). With water demand projected to increase, the World Bank estimates a 40 per cent shortfall between forecasted demand and available supply by 2030 (World Bank, 2015).

The challenge lies in finding a way to use the world’s water more efficiently and make it available to all at a reasonable cost, while leaving sufficient quantities to sustain the environment. Green growth policies in the water sector can address issues of both quantity and quality by encouraging water-related innovation and investment in green infrastructure, and through integration with policies in other relevant sectors.

Relevance to SDGs

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 addresses the sustainable management of water and includes the preservation of water-related ecosystems, including wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.

Explore green growth resources relate to SDG 6:

SDG 6.2
   SDG 6.4
     use efficiency     
   SDG 6.5


United Nations (UN), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)

Case Studies

SEED, United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Learning Products

Environment for Development Initiative (EfD)
World Resources Institute (WRI)


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)