Interlinkages of Water-Related SDG Indicators Globally and in Low-Income Countries

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The international community has committed to protecting the Earth and its ecosystems, thus ensuring wellbeing, economic growth, and a sustainable environment, by applying 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), including many related to water. These goals and their indicators can have synergistic, trade-off, or neutral interlinkages. This study measured the interlinkages between 31 SDG indicators directly or indirectly related to water belonging to seven categories: extreme water events, water availability, water quality and waterborne diseases, energy-related water, industry and technology-related water, water governance and management, and ecosystem-related water. All the indicators were paired, resulting in 450 pairs. The interlinkage between water-related indicators globally and in low-income countries (LIC) were determined by Spearman’s rank correlation (ρ), and standardized multilinear regression was applied to identify the dominant drivers of synergistic and trade-off interactions. The finding shows that water quality, waterborne disease, and energy-related water are the most feasible to achieve in SDGs in global and LIC. The local government may take advantage from this study. Moreover, the government should pay attention in developing and providing alternative energy especially in LIC due to some trade-offs appeared with health and social conflict may arise. The interaction between indicators become the main driver of synergy/trade-off over population and GDP in interlinkage water related SDGs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number613
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Feb


  • SDGs
  • energy
  • health
  • synergy
  • trade-off
  • water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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