A rapidly moving body of water with a visible shoreline in the distance.

SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

The SDGs

Adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

In 2018, the University of Manitoba was designated as the Hub for SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitization. Institutions from around the world are designated as UNAI hubs for three-year renewable terms. UM will continue to advance research, analysis and policy for clean water and sanitation in our classrooms, on our campuses and in our communities.

UM has many research areas and initiatives that fall within SDG 6, some examples of which include:

  • Interdisciplinary research on water systems to help build sustainable, resilient communities in Manitoba and across Canada, including research with Indigenous communities, management of water quantity and quality issues and the impact of climate change on our water systems

  • Projects on clean water, and water and sanitation security, that consider the needs of Indigenous communities with the active participation of those communities

  • Our commitment to water conservation and protection through ongoing monitoring of operational water use


The Last Drop UNAI Speaker Series

The UM United Nations Academic Impact hub for Clean Water and Sanitation presents a speaker series spanning 7 months highlighting the research of its members. If you have an interest in water sustainability issues including drinking water and sanitation, water governance, and international climate issues, this speaker series is for you!

Check out each date below for registration details.

September 18, 2023

Title: Microbiological quality of drinking water from First Nation communities in Manitoba and an urgent need to upgrade the water distribution system

Presenter: Dr. Ayush Kumar, Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Medical Microbiology, University of Manitoba


October 23, 2023

Title: Building Legal Relationships of Responsibility to and with Nibi (Water)

Presenter: Aimée Craft, Associate Professor and University Research Chair Nibi Miinawaa Aki Inaakonigewin: Indigenous governance in relationship with land and water, Faculty of Common Law, University of Ottawa


November 20, 2023

Title: The Eeyou Coastal Habitat Comprehensive Research Project

Presenter: Dr. Zou Zou Kuzyk, Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences and Centre for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba


January 22, 2024

Title: The Creation of the Manitoba Métis Federation's Weather Keeper Program

Presenters: Claire Herbert, Coordinator Manitoba Great Lakes Program and Canadian Watershed Information Network, Centre for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba and Pheonix Combe, Métis Climate Monitoring Coordinator, Energy, Infrastructure, and Resource Management, Manitoba Métis Federation - National Government of the Red River Métis


February 26, 2024

Title: The Ontology of Water

Presenter: Dr. Deborah McGregor, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice, Osgood Hall Law School and Faculty of Environmental Studies and Urban Change, York University

Register here for this webinar.

March 18, 2024

Title: Long-term Drinking Water Advisories in Manitoba First Nations: What is Needed to Sustainably Resolve Them?

Presenters: Dr. Melanie O'Gorman, Associate Professor, University of Winnipeg, and Dr. Stewart Hill, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO)

Register here for this webinar.

Last Drop Series 2022-2023

September 26, 2022

Title: Ha Kus Téeyi (“Our Way”): Transforming water governance through Tagish and Tlingit water ways
Presenters: Dr. Nicole J. Wilson from the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources, University of Manitoba and Ghoóch Tlâ (Colleen) James from Carcross/Tagish First Nation

October 17, 2022

Title: Indigenous use of our waters for agriculture, travel and trade, and the impacts of colonialism
Presenter: Dr. Cary Miller. Associate Vice-President Indigenous, Curriculum, Scholarship, and Research, University of Manitoba

November 28, 2022

Title: Water: friend or foe? Examining the historical aquatic relationship of the Anishinabek at Lake St. Martin
Presenter: Dr. Myrle Ballard, Assistant Professor and Indigenous Scholar, Department of Chemistry, University of Manitoba

January 23, 2023

Title: Microbes in the Aquatic Environment
Presenter: Dr. Miguel Uyaguari, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba

February 13, 2023

Title: History in the water: water, colonialism, and human rights in 2023
Presenter: Dr. Adele Perry, Distinguished Professor and Director, Centre for Human Rights Research, University of Manitoba

March 20, 2023

Title: Pesticides in water and wastewater – A Prairie perspective
Presenter: Dr. Annemieke Farenhorst, Associate Vice-President (Research), University of Manitoba


  • UN 2023 Water Conference

    Members of the UM Working Group attended the UN 2023 Water Conference held in New York, March 22-24, 2023. As part of the programming, they hosted a side event focusing on the role of Indigenous Peoples in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6, "Clean water and sanitation for all."
    Title: Decolonizing water governance through Indigenous knowledge, self-determination, and relationships with water

    The side event was organized by: University of Manitoba, Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Decolonizing Water, Future Earth, and Himalayan Peace Foundation

     UM Today Story


Full Details

This side event will address the challenges of present approaches to water governance and sustainability for Indigenous peoples. It will examine the contributions of Indigenous knowledge systems as complete bodies of knowledge that include information about science, policy, law, cosmology and more. Furthermore, we will explore how best to respect Indigenous peoples and their governance systems which centre on understandings of water as a living entity.

Indigenous Peoples are critical actors in water governance and sustainability. Globally, there is a growing acknowledgement of Indigenous rights and self-determination. For instance, this is affirmed within 46 articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) (2007), such as article 25 which states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Indigenous Peoples should play a significant role in decision-making about water. Yet, these communities are underrepresented in international water policy. In this side meeting, we ask, what is needed to better engage and respect Indigenous peoples, their knowledge, and governance systems to address global water challenges? Indigenous governance, law and knowledge continue to be a major theme for decision-makers about water around the world, but Indigenous people continue to lack a voice and to be marginalized by historical and ongoing colonialism.

The UM UNAI SDG Hub working group is pleased to contribute to organizing this UN 2023 Water Conference side event with generous support from the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources, the Centre for Human Rights Research, and the Canada Research Chairs Program.  

UM UNAI SDG 6 Hub Working Group

The UM Working Group is made up of researchers (faculty and graduate students) undertaking research in the areas of the UN SDG 6 clean water and sanitation goals.

Terms of Reference

  • Participate in UNAI SDG 6 Hub monthly meetings and provide updates on UM activities in the area of advancing SDG 6
  • Work to create a comprehensive collection of the activities at UM in all areas of SDG 6 specifically
  • Connect and collaborate with the other 16 UNAI SDG Hubs to share activities, knowledge and information on UM activities and gain knowledge from the other hub hosts about their specific SDG initiatives (academic/research/other)


Working Group Members

Claire Herbert (co-chair) | Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources
Nicole Wilson (co-chair) | Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources

Adele Perry | Centre for Human Rights Research
Annemieke Farenhorst | Associate Vice-President Research
Ayush Kumar | Department of Microbiology
Az Klymiuk | Department of Biological Sciences
Bairaj Hothi | SDG Student Hub Coordinator
Cary Miller | Associate Vice-President (Indigenous) Scholarship, Research and Curriculum
Christie Nairn | Office of Sustainability
Marcos Cunha Cordeiro | Department of Animal Science
Miguel Uyaguari | Department of Microbiology
Mona Maxwell | The Centre for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Myrle Ballard | Department of Chemistry
Qiuyan Yuan | Department of Civil Engineering
Ramanathan Sri Ranjan | Department of Biosystems Engineering
Ricardo Mantilla | Department of Civil Engineering
Shirley Thompson | Natural Resources Institute
Stephane McLachlan | Department of Environment and Geography

While substantial progress has been made in increasing access to clean drinking water and sanitation, billions of people—mostly in rural areas—still lack these basic services. Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Contact us

Office of the Vice-President (Research and International)
Room 410/406 Administration Building
66 Chancellor's Circle
University of Manitoba (Fort Garry campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2 Canada