Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation


One of the key objectives of monitoring is to inform policy- and decision-making. To this end, it is important that the data are detailed enough to indicate where, when, how and at whom to target interventions. This calls for data that can be disaggregated spatially (which river is polluted?), temporally (in which season is wetland extent being recorded?) and by sector (which sector is using water and generating wastewater?). It may also be useful to separate indicators into their subcomponents, for example, the different aspects of integrated water resources management (IWRM) or the type of ecosystem.

Disaggregation is essential to making data as useful as possible for policy- and decision-making and planning, including ensuring that no one is left behind. Photo credit: Asian Development Bank, Creative Commons Attribution

Leave no one behind - monitoring universal access

For SDG 6, the pledge to leave no one behind is particularly relevant for targets 6.1 and 6.2 on universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Current data can be disaggregated for place of residence and subnational region, as well as wealth. Over time, the aim is to include informal urban settlements in the data collected, and to develop survey instruments that can capture marginalized groups and intra-household inequalities, such as gender, age and disability.

Monitoring the impact of management

For targets 6.3 to 6.6 on water, wastewater and ecosystem resources, with indicators of a physical nature, it is more challenging to disaggregate data for social strata. However, the poor management of these resources impacts different groups of people differently, and it is important to assess and analyse these effects; geo-referencing physical data facilitates such an assessment and analysis.

For example, by recording in which basin water scarcity is prevalent in a country, it is possible to assess the social impacts of water scarcity by looking at the number of people living within that basin.

Some groups of people are more affected by the lack of wastewater management than others. Photo credit: Anna Kari