SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Did you know?

Traditional cleaning methods for a widebody aircraft could use up to 13,000 litres of water, but new ‘dry wash’ techniques can reduce that by 95%.

Relevance to aviation

This is not an area usually identified as a major impact for air transport, although like any industry aviation must be mindful of water use, particularly in water constrained areas. However, water availability may constitute a significant restriction on growth if it is not managed in a proactive way. A large number of airports have robust water management plans.

Examples of action
  • Hong Kong Airport uses a ‘triple water system’ prove the efficiency of its three major water sources: freshwater, seawater and treated wastewater, which has helped the airport reduce its freshwater demand by 50%.
  • Airports Council International North America has developed best practice guidelines for airports to reduce water consumption. Around half of US airports already have water conservation programmes in place.
  • Emirates Airline uses a ‘drywash’ technique on its fleet which saves 11.7 million litres of water each year, whilst improving the aerodynamic performance of its aircraft (reducing fuel burn).
  • Canberra Airport has published an extensive Water Management Plan, which addresses issues relating to stormwater, groundwater and recycled water.
  • Oslo Airport conducts environmentally-friendly deicing operations, by using non-toxic deicing fluid for aircraft and additive-free organic salt for the runways and taxiways.
  • Finavia’s water management strategy not only follows environmentally sound standards, but also supports the renovation of local trout streams.

Learn more in the Flying in Formation report