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SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

Ensure the availability & sustainable management of water & sanitation for all is the purpose of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). This goal strives to ensure equitable access, improve quality, & increase efficiency of water & sanitation systems.

Actions, stories, & resources related to SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation are shared in our latest Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report. They are shared below to illustrate Auburn’s impact. For an overview highlighting our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), please visit

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SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

Half the world’s population experiences water scarcity and shortages for at least one month out of the year. Water is essential for sanitation and hygiene, not only for staying hydrated. Lack of access to safely managed drinking and bathing water as well as pollution in waterways leads to the spread of diseases that cause the death of 800 children every day.

Auburn University is moderately engaged with Goal 6 across teaching, outreach, and research. Goal 6 is best represented in Auburn University’s teaching, with at least 54 courses offered from 2019 to 2021 that related to issues of clean water, sanitation and waste management. Proper
water management enables better food production management, energy production management, decent work and economic growth, ecosystem preservation, biodiversity maintenance, and climate change action; all of which are issues that concern Auburn University because of Auburn University’s global perspective and dedication to service.

View our most recent Auburn University and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals report  for an overview of Auburn’s contributions to all the SDGs.

Actions at Auburn

The graduate certificate in Restoration Ecology within the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment prepares graduate students to understand and evaluate ecosystem restoration. The certificate entails 15 credit hours of online coursework ranging from human-wildlife conflicts to forest wetlands management. Students examine the critical realities of ecosystem damage and degradation while enhancing practical critical thinking and communication skills. Completion of the Restoration Ecology program leaves graduates prepared to work in natural resource management, forest and wildlife management, environmental sciences and consulting, or environmental education. Auburn University also offers one of the only online versions of the Restoration Ecology Graduate Certificate in the country.

Image of students doing forest restoration
student doing research in creek SDG Photo courtesy of Dr. Chris Anderson

The Watershed Science and Management minor, administered by the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, involves managing the availability, quantity, and quality of water. Many metropolitan areas and smaller cities rely on forested watersheds to yield high-quality drinking water supplies for their population. This minor supports well-trained and dedicated professionals that are knowledgeable in hydrology, climate, and water sciences. These professionals are needed to sustain our water supplies and ensure that this commodity is available to the United States and the world’s growing populations. The minor requires students to take courses that emphasize various aspects of watershed and landscape management and their effects on sustainable water quality and supply.

Image of someone filling up a water bottle from a stream

The Auburn University Water Resources Center (AUWRC) fosters collaboration and innovation among educators, students, and professionals to develop innovative research in water resources and water systems. The mission of the AUWRC is to “facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration among AU faculty and staff on water-related research, outreach, and instruction; conduct innovative research to find practical solutions for current and future water issues and empower private citizens to become active stewards of water resources.” The EPA has given the AUWRC the distinction as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management for its efforts to implement equitable water policy throughout Alabama.

Students for Clean Water exists to raise awareness and funds to eradicate the global water crisis through education, awareness, and fundraising. The funds raised by Students for Clean Water benefit Neverthirst, an international ministry bringing clean water to those who need it, in addition to Auburn-area and nationwide charities related to clean water. Students for Clean Water’s fundraising events include the Carry the Jerry 5k, the H2Bowl bowling tournament, benefit nights and concerts, and annual Water Week. Each of these events is open to all Auburn students and surrounding community members.

students for water with Aubie SDG Photo courtesy of Lindsey Dull

Dr. Eve Brantley, a Professor in the College of Agriculture, studies the intersections of watersheds and water quality with ethical stewardship and sustainability through a local and regional lens. Particularly, Dr. Brantley researches riparian buffer systems, stream enhancement assessments, and innovative stormwater management in the Southeast region. As an extension specialist in partnership with the ACES Water Program, she also works to facilitate watershed restoration and improvement and leads management workshops throughout the state for natural resource professionals and stakeholders, local developers and contractors, and elected officials.

Individuals in the forest with a water stream
waste water structure in india SDg Photo courtesy of Dr. Kelly Alley

Dr. Kelly D. Alley, an anthropologist in the College of Liberal Arts, explores successful wastewater reuse in India in her article “Parameters of Successful Wastewater Reuse in Urban India.” Water is essential for agriculture, industry, and human consumption in urban India. However, over the next half century, water availability during the dry season will continue to decline. Alley’s research examines the key parameters that enable successful wastewater reuse through four case studies. Alley’s research aims to increase the availability of water during the dry season in order to preserve northern India’s people, agriculture, and industry.

People & Stories

Waste Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG12, SDG14, SDG3, SDG6, STARS | No Comments
By Hannah Schwartz  Reducing waste is a cornerstone of sustainable practice for universities worldwide. By minimizing their ecological footprint, institutions not only contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment but also demonstrate a commitment to responsible stewardship. From conserving natural resources to saving costs and inspiring future generations, waste reduction in…

Buildings Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG12, SDG3, SDG6, SDG7, SDG9, STARS | No Comments
By Bella Wright Building and innovation are pivotal to advancing society. However, how we build can have significant impacts on our planet and our future. To ensure the health and well-being of our planet, it is important to practice sustainable building of infrastructure and sustainable operations management.  The STARS* assessment…

Water Assessment: Auburn University’s STARS Report

| SDG11, SDG14, SDG6, STARS | No Comments
By Hannah Schwartz  Conserving water is crucial for the health of our planet and future generations. With water scarcity continuing to be a pressing global issue, every drop saved makes a difference. By reducing water usage, we protect ecosystems, wildlife, and agricultural lands that rely on this precious resource.  With…

Building Community in Switzerland

| Guest Posts, SDG, SDG11, SDG3, SDG6 | No Comments
By Becki Retzlaff I am writing this blog from the beautiful city of Bern, Switzerland, where I am attending an academic conference on environmental history. It is poetic that I am tasked with writing a blog about the society point of the sustainability compass from Bern, a city with a…

Climate Change: An Issue of Climate Justice

| Guest Posts, SDG1, SDG10, SDG13, SDG16, SDG17, SDG5, SDG6, Updates | No Comments
by Ghanashyam Khanal and Nabin Bhandari  While about two frenetic weeks of discussions and negotiations on climate change, damage and loss, and climate finance were going on at COP27 in Egypt, a documentary that depicted the impact of climate change on women and children in the Himalayan regions of Nepal…

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