WaterAid and climate change

In the countries where we work, the climate is often extreme and variable, which makes accessing safe water and sanitation particularly difficult.

Climate change is defined as a statistically significant change in the climate over long periods. It will make existing challenges even greater, by increasing the likelihood of natural disasters and placing additional stress on resources.

No one is immune to the effects of climate change. However, it will have the greatest impact on the world’s poorest people, who are least able to cope with and adapt to a changing environment. The millions of people who rely on unsafe, unprotected water sources are especially vulnerable.

Climate change will affect people most through water-related issues –– floods, droughts, unpredictable monsoons and lack of unpolluted, non-salty water. It could also affect the sustainability of existing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, and make extending them to new users more difficult.

Access to safe water and somewhere to go to the toilet make people more resilient to climate change. For example, improved sanitation can help stop the spread of disease after a flood. Adequate WASH facilities also improve people’s health, education and economic stability.