HRH The Prince of Wales and WaterAid to host major Water and Climate Summit

Posted by
Emily Pritchard
28 January 2020
Climate change
Image: WaterAid/ Abir Abdullah

HRH The Prince of Wales and WaterAid will host a major water and climate summit in London this spring. HRH, who is WaterAid’s President, will join leaders from government, business and multilateral institutions to debate and drive action on the urgent and overlooked issue of how the climate crisis is affecting the water that people need to survive in a warming world. 

The Water and Climate summit will form part of HRH’s year of action on people and planet that was announced as part of his keynote address at Davos. 

Having clean water close to home is one of the first lines of defence against climate change. However, 2 billion people currently lack access to a reliable source of clean water and their lives are already being pushed to the brink. 

The day-long summit will be the first of its kind, and will see key figures from politics, business, media and civil society coming together to agree how to address the impact of the climate crisis on access to water, sanitation and hygiene. A key focus of the summit will be establishing clean water and sanitation as the top priority for COP 26’s adaptation discussions, which takes place in Glasgow this November.

No other impact of climate change will be as immediate or widespread as the impact it has on water. Climate change increases the unpredictability of weather patterns and extreme weather events: how much, how often, and how intensively it rains, and the frequency and severity of extreme events. Floods disrupt sanitation services leading to diseases, longer droughts mean women have to walk even further to collect water, and rising seas pollute water supplies making it too salty to drink.

A recent report published from the Global Commission on Adaptation predicted that the number of people who lack sufficient water at least one month per year will soar from 3.6bn today to more than 5bn by 2050 - that’s over half of the predicted population by this date. 

Tim Wainwright, WaterAid’s CEO, said: “For the millions of people who lack access to clean water, the climate crisis is today’s reality, not an abstract future. There’s no better investment than getting a reliable water supply and decent toilets to everyone, but currently this is a long way down the list of priorities for governments and climate funders.  We’re bringing together the people who have the power to change this to work on urgent and decisive actions to protect people from the impacts of the climate crisis.”  
The water and climate summit will take place on 10 March 2020 in central London. Journalists interested in attending should email Emily Pritchard [email protected] for further details. 

For more information, please contact:  
Emily Pritchard, Global News Manager, [email protected] ;
+44 (0)207 793 2244 or Fiona Callister, Global Head of Media, [email protected]
Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552 or email [email protected]


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage