Groundwater: The world’s neglected defence against climate change

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WaterAid India
Women and children collect water in rural India
Image: WaterAid/India

Currently, millions of people across the globe don’t have safe water to drink.

As climate change continues to wreak havoc, communities will see their homes and means of survival washed away, their drinking water contaminated or dry up, their crops wither and fail, their health devastated by infectious diseases, and their children forced out of school. Communities need sustainable and safe water and sanitation to have the best chance of combatting the devastating impacts of extreme weather, like heatwaves, droughts and floods. Yet one in four people across the globe does not have safely managed water in their homes.

However, new analysis by the British Geological Survey (BGS) and WaterAid, reveals that many countries in Africa – including most parts of subSaharan Africa – and parts of Asia, have enough water to meet everyone’s daily needs. And this hidden resource is often right under our feet – groundwater. Groundwater – which exists almost everywhere underground, in gaps within soil, sand and rock – has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives and be the world’s insurance policy against climate change.