SDG 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

We are one of the utilities with the best water productivity

#environmental sustainability #social action

Iberdrola group contributes directly to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, clean water and sanitation, working towards rational and sustainable use of this essential resource and tackling the risks related to its scarcity. Thanks to these efforts, the company is currently one of the utilities with the best water productivity, an indicator that we aim to keep above 50 % over the next five years.

OUR CONTRIBUTION TO SDG 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

 Iberdrola, positioned as one of the utilities with the best water productivity (sales/water used), according to the Global 100 classification from a selection of the main utilities.

 Goal: keeping that productivity above 50 % over the next five years.

 The replacement of conventional thermal generation (coal and fuel plants) with more efficient technologies has led to a decrease in water consumption per GWh. Iberdrola group is completing the process of closing all its coal plants worldwide and, at the end of the first half of 2020, 78 % of its total installed capacity comes from emission free sources, mainly renewable energies and combined cycles.

 The group is going to great lengths to use water rationally and sustainably and tackle the risks related to its scarcity. In 2019, Iberdrola returned 96 % of the water extracted to the receiving environment, saved 1,600 hm3 thanks to its reuse in closed or semi-open cycles and recycled 15 hm3 of waste water in its cooling processes.

 The company is a part of the United Nations' CEO Water Mandate to encourage sustainable practices in the use of water.

 It has participated in CDP Water since its first edition, a UN body whose objective is to encourage companies, financial markets and governments to use water sustainably and to invest in water security.
 

Iberdrola optimizes
water management

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION?

SDG 6 seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. For this it considers measures such as universal and equitable access to affordable drinking water by 2030, reducing pollution and waste to improve water quality and minimising the emission of chemicals and reducing the percentage of untreated wastewater.

WHY IS SDG 6 SO IMPORTANT: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION?

Around 2.2 billion people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water and 4.2 billion do not have safely managed sanitation services, according to the report Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (2000-2017), signed in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF.

One in 10 people worldwide (about 785 million) do not have basic services, including 144 million who drink untreated surface water. In rural areas, the concentration of the population without resources is much higher: eight out of 10 people lacked basic services in 2017.

Furthermore, 673 million people continue to practice open defecation. While it is true that this figure has been halved globally (21 % in 2000 compared to 9 % in 2017), in sub-Saharan Africa, however, it has increased mainly due to the strong population growth in the region.

Diarrhoea related to lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene is a direct cause of infant mortality: 297,000 children under the age of five die each year for this reason. Furthermore, poor sanitation and contaminated water are linked to the transmission of diseases such as typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera and hepatitis A.

According to the United Nations (ONU) in its 2018 Synthesis Report on Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation, "social development and economic prosperity depend on the sustainable management of freshwater resources and ecosystems". Thus, the availability of freshwater in adequate proportions of quality and quantity is fundamental to any aspect of life and sustainable development. The report recognises that "water resources are integrated into all forms of development, into the maintenance of economic growth in agriculture, industry and energy generation, and into the conservation of healthy ecosystems".

The WHO and UNICEF state that rural areas suffer the most water shortages, both in terms of quality and quantity. Of the 301 million people living in rural areas affected by scarce water resources and clean water, south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are the worst hit, with India, China, Nigeria and Ethiopia being the most vulnerable countries.

Reversing this reality has become a major international goal. Which is why ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all is SDG 6 of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, approved in September 2015, as part of Agenda 2030.
 

Iberdrola aligned with the sdg

Keys to understand worldwide water scarcity

Who does it affect?

2.2 billion people cannot access safe drinking water and 4.2 billion do not have safely managed sanitation services.

How is this distributed around the world?

The 10 countries with the highest number of people living in rural areas and without access to safe drinking water are divided between South Asia (50 %) and sub-Saharan Africa (50 %).

70.000.000

60.000.000

50.000.000

40.000.000

30.000.000

20.000.000

10.000.000

0

India

China

Nigeria

Ethiopia

D. R. of Congo

Indonesia

Tanzania

Kenya

Bangladesh

Afghanistan

Main causes

Excessive water consumption, as a result of overcrowding, industry and agriculture; pollution and degradation of water reserves, lack of basic infrastructure and climate change.

How can we put an end to it?

We must raise public awareness of the consequences of water scarcity; invest in smart conservation and storage technologies; reuse wastewater; allocate more funding to water projects; and reduce the corporate water footprint.

 

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Keys to understanding world water scarcity [PDF]

TARGETS OF SDG 6: CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Achieve universal and equitable access to safe drinking water at an affordable price for all.
  • Achieve equitable access to adequate sanitation and hygiene services for all and end open defecation.
  • Improve water quality by reducing pollution and increasing safe recycling and reuse worldwide.
  • Increase the efficient use of water resources in all sectors and ensure the sustainability of freshwater extraction and supply.
  • Expand international cooperation and support to developing countries.