It’s a perfect storm fed by climate change.
While we can’t stop the storm from coming, WaterAid can make sure that everyone, everywhere has the water they need, whatever the weather.
How do we do it?
We work with people
We work with the communities left furthest behind to build water supplies that keep pumping, come rain or shine. We’ve been doing this for 40 years, working with industry partners and side-by-side with people in countries that are among the worst affected by climate change.
Leyew Animut is one of many local experts we work with to get clean water to people. A manager at a water services company in Ethiopia, he says:
"Even though climate change has a huge effect nationally, we have witnessed its direct effect on our Institution’s work. Unless we have rain, the water from the spring gets lower. This forces people to queue for water.
"Since the effect of climate change is very dangerous, I think we all need to give more attention to it and work towards preventing it.
"When people have water, they can keep their hygiene properly. Previously people used to travel to far places to fetch water but now because of our institution many households have tap water in their compounds."
We enable people to share knowledge
We pool knowledge and share expertise so that communities can learn from each other. Right now, people young and old around the world are championing the right to water, demanding better investment in sustainable water solutions from their governments, and calling the world’s attention to the impact that climate change is having on their access to clean water.
Anita Das, 40, lives with her husband and four children in Trimohoni village, Khulna, southwestern Bangladesh. The area is prone to flooding, and the country itself is one of the worst affected by climate change.
“Earlier we had a makeshift latrine by the lake,” says Anita. “Most of the time it used to overflow and anyone walking could smell the rancid smell of human waste.”
In 2018, we worked with local partners Rupantar to build a raised, flood-resistant toilet as part of a project in Anita’s village.
“When we started using the toilet built by WaterAid and Rupantar, I noticed a significant change in my health and my family's as well,” she says. “We used to suffer from diarrhoea and stomach upsets almost every month but after the toilet was built, stomach upsets have become a rare case for my family.”
We use technology
Technology is the best defence against the uncertainty that climate change brings. Through industry partnerships, both national and international, we empower communities with water technologies that can be easily adapted to their context.
These technologies include:
- building ATMs that dispense water much like a cash ATM would
- building raised taps and toilets that can withstand floods
- drilling boreholes to get to water deep underground
- installing robust pipe networks
- creating reservoir tanks in hilly areas that feed water to communities downhill
- using energy from solar panels to pump water from underground
We provided training for 30-year-old farmer, Justine Sawadogo. Now, she regularly monitors this rain gauge installed in Bonam village, Burkina Faso.
"I had heard about this rain gauge technology before but I had never seen it and I didn't know how it worked," she says.
"But I think that by installing this here it will help us monitor, measure the amount of rain and the amount of water that falls per rain in the village. It will help us to better understand the rainfall in our community and to be able to draw lessons for our activities and water management."
With the right technology and tools, communities can better prepare themselves against extreme and unreliable weather.