Presenting target 6.4 on water use and scarcity

By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
— 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

What and why?

Target 6.4 addresses water scarcity, aiming to ensure enough water for people and the economy, as well as for the environment, by increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors of society. Securing environmental water requirements, that is, leaving enough water in the environment at any given moment to sustain its natural processes, is essential for maintaining ecosystem health and resilience (closely related to target 6.6 and SDG 15).

Increasing water-use efficiency means generating more output per water input (for example, more crops per cubic metre of water), including by reducing water losses (for example, in municipal distribution networks). In this regard, some sectors are of special relevance due to their high water use, for example, agriculture, industry, energy and municipal water supply.

Worldwide, freshwater resources are abundant, with only 9% withdrawn by society. However, available resources are unevenly distributed across regions and within countries. In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress, of which 10 withdrew more than 100% of their renewable energy resources. Water scarcity – both physical as well as economic due to poor management – is currently affecting more than 40% of the global population. Source: Millennium Development Goals Report (2015). Photo credit: Pingz Man, Creative Commons Attribution

Worldwide, freshwater resources are abundant, with only 9% withdrawn by society. However, available resources are unevenly distributed across regions and within countries. In 2011, 41 countries experienced water stress, of which 10 withdrew more than 100% of their renewable energy resources. Water scarcity – both physical as well as economic due to poor management – is currently affecting more than 40% of the global population. Source: Millennium Development Goals Report (2015). Photo credit: Pingz Man, Creative Commons Attribution

Tracking progress

Progress towards target 6.4 at the global level will be monitored through two indicators: