The access to clean water and sanitation and the management of freshwater ecosystems are both essential to the health, wellbeing and economic prosperity of communities everywhere. These issues are so fundamentally important to the lives of billions of people across the globe that the United Nations has named them in one of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Even though the SDGs #4, 7, 8 and 13 represent Enel’s strategic commitment, the SDG #6 plays an important role in defining and implementing sustainability projects in order to solve one the biggest environmental and social issue around the globe.
The Problem of Water Scarcity and Sanitation
97% of the Earth’s water is found in its oceans (i.e. saltwater). Another 2% is frozen in glaciers on the Earth’s ice caps. Only 1% of water is freshwater, and much of it undrinkable because of sanitation issues. According to the Report of the Secretary-General, "Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals", E/2017/66, the sustainable management of water is a large concern for the more than 2 billion people who live in countries identified as having excess water stress, which is defined as the ratio of total freshwater withdrawn to total renewable freshwater resources above a threshold of 25 percent. Countries in Northern Africa and Western Asia currently experience some of the highest levels of water stress, putting them at the greatest risk of water scarcity for many of their communities.
The Basis of UN SDG #6: Clean Water and Sanitation
The goal of UN SDG #6 is to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. The UN has many goals for this initiative that it hopes to achieve by 2030, which include:
- Achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
- Achieving access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all
- Ending open defecation, with special attention paid to women and girls as well as those in vulnerable situations
- Improving water quality worldwide by reducing pollution and the dumping of hazardous materials, and increasing recycling and the amount of safely treated wastewater
- Substantially increasing the efficiency of water usage
- Addressing and reducing the number of people suffering from water scarcity worldwide
- Implementing integrated water resources management
- Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems
- Encouraging international coordination in supporting countries with their water and sanitation-related activities
Find out more about the UN’s SDG #6, as well as the progress that has been made in pursuing it, here.
InnoCentive and Enel Challenges Regarding SDG #6
SDG #6 was a key focus for one of Enel’s Open Innovability Challenges, the “Reduction of Offensive Odors in Muña Resovoir and Pumping Station.” Enel was seeking solutions that could reduce the impact of offensive odors emissions due to some gases (e.g. H2S) in the Muña reservoir and the pumping Station in Colombia. According to the Environmental Management Plan, a quarterly periodicity was established in the measurement of odors, in which the results have been presented in the respective environmental compliance reports on an annual basis.
As of today, the challenge is closed and evaluations are underway on the proposed solutions.
Help Enel Pursue Other UN SDGs
Nearly every challenge proposed by Enel and InnoCentive is geared towards pursuing one or more of the UN’s SDGs. Find out more information about Enel’s challenges at the InnoCentive Challenge Center today.