Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all



“More and more countries are experiencing water stress, and increasing drought and desertification is already worsening these trends. By 2050, it is projected that at least one in four people will suffer recurring water shortages”.

“Safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030 requires we invest in adequate infrastructure, provide sanitation facilities, and encourage hygiene. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems is essential”.

“Ensuring universal safe and affordable drinking water involves reaching over 800 million people who lack basic services and improving accessibility and safety of services for over two billion”.

(Sustainable development goals: United Nations Development Programme: Goal 6 Clean Water and Sanitation)


Water usage for Animal Livestock: For the breeding, feeding, and processing of food, the requirements of farmed animals are varied. Not only do the animals themselves require drinking water, but there is also water needed for feed production of blue-green water, which is about 41% of the total agricultural use of 70% (1). In all, from raising, to feeding, to slaughter and processing the end product within animal agriculture (2), the water use totals are quite significant compared to plant protein sources (3). Water usage recording is inaccurate and under-reported in all global breeding of livestock animals for food, test subjects, medical products, fur, and other uses. That is why the FAO has put out guidelines for further assessment (4). The seafood industry’s freshwater usage is also severely under-recorded (5).

AG Waste in Water Systems: The animal agriculture industry creates a profound amount of animal waste which inevitably ends up in ecological waterways (6), along with agrochemicals used for fertilization, pesticides, and insecticides in animal feed crops (7). Evidence of hormones and antibiotics used in AG (8), along with the various processing chemicals also end up in groundwater (9). This is particularly dangerous when untreated animal waste is stored in lagoons alongside factory farms in areas that are prevalent to flooding, even when fertilizers are applied directly to soil, they can end up in the water (10). In areas of flooding animal slurry lagoons antibiotic resistant pathogens were found to proliferate in the water (11). Livestock production is the largest source of water pollution (by sector) (12) , with its combined ecological effects making it one of the most dangerous to the environment and human health (13).

Developing Nations: The dangers of AG waste are particularly high in developing nations that may already have unclean water sources (14), and lack the financial resources and governmental support to keep waterways clean and purify contaminated water (15).

Download the document below to read the full list of the latest citations of evidence as to how animal exploitation undermines the progress of SDG Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation


Further Reading:

Goal 6 : Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform (United Nations website)

“Animal Agriculture & Water” – By Daryl Elliott, Published December 9, 2018 –


“Meat’s large water footprint: why raising livestock and poultry for meat is so resource-intensive” – 2013/12 –

“How-does-poor-sanitation-lead-health-problems” – ( Exposure to feces and lack of water are prevalent in third world countries where children and animals intermingle causes diarrhea leading to death, where diarrhea is the leading cause of child deaths.) –

“As Dairy Farms Grow Bigger, New Concerns About Pollution” – Run-off from dairy farms and other agricultural activities has seeped into aquifers and elevated levels of nitrogen, in some instances to unsafe concentrations –