DelAgua Group

Proposal for Technology and Data Analysis Regarding Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals

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Source: DelAgua Group

A coalition of technical experts propose to provide analysis that integrates new data instruments, technologies, standards and approaches with existing systems for the monitoring of Goal 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Water security is to sustainable development what water is to life. Whilst the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) included an important—but limited—set of water indicators focused on access to improved water and sanitation, SDG 6 seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Effectively measuring progress toward the expanded targets under SDG 6 will require new approaches to monitoring; innovations that integrate all relevant data sources and fill missing data gaps in unique ways.

Data on access to water and sanitation are collected using surveys and censuses, conducted primarily by national statistics offices.

Monitoring systems make development investments go further, help steer decision making, foster learning about which interventions work and which do not, and can support productive integration with other sectors and targets within the SDGs.

Systems need to be integrated and scaled into a consistent framework in order to meet the operational needs of public and private stakeholders addressing SDG 6 at the community-level implementation, the national scale planning, and the global monitoring.

Water monitoring comprises diverse components, instruments, and data collection tools:

  • Data on wastewater treatment (connection rates and treatment) are collected using surveys and censuses, either by government administrative, regulatory bodies or by self-reporting private sector utilities.
  • Data on quality of drinking-water are collected by public regulatory bodies, private sector entities that supply bottled water and/or bottled soft drinks, and by remote sensing, which can provide measures of water quality for environmental and human health contaminants.
  • Data on water-quantity are collected using meteorological stations, river gauge networks, and satellite remote sensing systems.
  • Data on water consumption—by sectors (including agriculture), households, and industry—are collected through water meters.
  • Data on water-related ecosystems are often collected by government agencies through field studies and remote sensing based methods.
  • Data on extreme events (e.g., floods) are collected through remote sensing products and government reports.

Each of these components requires multiple data inputs, monitoring methodologies, reporting standards, and technologies used for the data collection. This systemic review includes a specific focus on new technologies and approaches that can fill the gaps and increase the quality, frequency, scale, and accessibility of water data.

The latest SDSN publication—Data for Development: A Needs Assessment for SDG Monitoring and Statistical Capacity Development—acknowledges several limitations to their cost assessment of the core statistical tools that will be needed to measure sustainable development.

This analysis is critical to building an action plan that incorporates costs and shows the benefits of integrated water data collection systems, generating models relevant to national and regional agencies and the ongoing SDG indicator design process.

It will support the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (to be launched in September 2015), theSustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) thematic group on data, the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Indicators (IAEG-SDG), as well as National Statistics Offices, which will be the focal points to design national SDG monitoring processes.

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