Making the invisible visible this World Toilet Day

A man and a woman stand outside a latrine in rural Bhutan

Bhutan boosts happiness quotient with 100% improved sanitation declaration this World Toilet Day (SNV/Jigme Choden)


Today on World Toilet Day, we are highlighting the importance of groundwater and the role of safely managed and climate-resilient water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in protecting it.

World Toilet Day is observed annually on 19 November to highlight the importance of safely managed sanitation for human health, dignity and wellbeing, and progress action towards United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 - safe toilets for all by 2030.

With just eight years left to achieve this goal, the stark reality we face is a global sanitation crisis at the intersection of escalating climate change impacts and growing populations. Climate change is compromising sanitation systems, which increasingly fail in extreme weather events like storms and floods, exacerbating inequalities and threatening to undermine hard-won WASH gains across communities.


“Non-climate-resilient sanitation services pose a substantial public health hazard. During more frequent and severe flooding, damaged toilets and sanitation systems have spread disease across entire communities. In drought-affected areas, non-resilient sanitation systems can exacerbate water stress or cease to function, causing families to revert to open defecation. This impact is greatest on the poorest families, especially women and girls and persons with disabilities. Unless urgent actions are taken, the impact of climate change is set to undermine decades of progress in the sanitation sector.”


We are proud to support our partners, the University of Technology Sydney, WaterAid and SNV in their call to action on accelerating climate-resilient sanitation.

Throughout the world, some 3.6 billion people still don’t have access to a safely managed toilet at home and a shocking 800 children a day die from diarrhoeal disease linked to dirty water, unsafe sanitation and poor hygiene. At least 2 billion people worldwide rely on a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.

Almost all the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater – protecting groundwater is vital for our survival. Safely managed and climate-resilient sanitation systems prevent groundwater contamination from human waste and save lives.

Across the Asia Pacific region, Water for Women partners are working with communities, governments, non-government and rights holder organisations to make climate-resilient safe sanitation a reality for all. We are on track to reach more than three million people by the end of 2022.

Bhutan, for example, is poised to officially declare 100% improved sanitation nationally after realising the 14-year long goal of an improved toilet for every member the population today, for World Toilet Day.

The milestone follows the Royal Government of Bhutan’s unwavering resolve to leave no one behind in moving Bhutan up the sanitation ladder, supported by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and development partners SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and UNICEF.


“Bhutan is one of the few countries on track to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation for all by 2030. This will deliver widespread benefits across the country and have a positive ripple effect across the Indo-Pacific region,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Bhutan, Barry O’Farrell.  “This could not have been achieved without the commitment of the Royal Government of Bhutan and the dedication and determination of all partners to reach the last mile. We are proud of our shared accomplishments and look forward to many more years of partnership with the Royal Government of Bhutan.”


Explore some of our recent work below...


A woman stands at the front of a room facing seated people, it is a community feedback workshop

Critical Connections: Climate change response for inclusive WASH

University of Technology Sydney - Institute for Sustainable Futures in Indonesia and Timor-Leste in partnership with WaterAid and Plan International

Contact Us