Our climate is changing at an alarming rate and we're feeling the effects more and more through extreme weather. The climate crisis is a water crisis, making things even worse for hundreds of millions of people across the world who were already struggling to get clean water, pushing them further into disease and poverty.
What has climate change got to do with water?
As global temperatures continue to rise, we're experiencing too much or too little water. More frequent and extreme flooding is polluting fragile water sources; longer droughts are drying up springs. A staggering 90% of all natural disasters are water-related, and they're massively impacting people's lives.
How is climate change affecting people?
Already, a shocking 1 in 10 people worldwide don't have clean water close to home, and climate change is making their situation worse; every day, already fragile water supplies are at even greater risk of disappearing completely.
Without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, communities are more at risk of catching waterborne diseases like cholera, which claims 120,000 lives every year. Women and girls are suffering the most, as responsibility falls to them to take on household chores, collect water and care for the family. As water becomes more scarce, their day-to-day lives become much harder.
When local wells dry up, women and girls are forced to walk even longer distances in search of clean water, often in extreme temperatures. When family members get sick, they are often the ones who stay home to care for them, missing out on work and school. With no clean water, it becomes even more challenging for women and girls to meet their personal hygiene needs when breastfeeding, pregnant or menstruating.
On bad weather days we have to risk our lives to go out in that rain just to go looking for water…”
-Hilda, 29, from Chiango in Mozambique, pictured below.
Hilda's community endures frequent drought and flooding, and sometimes, her family goes days without water. When she has no other choice, she reluctantly collects water from a nearby well, but it often gives her children stomach ache and diarrhoea.Climate stories: meet more people affected by extreme weather
The world has made huge progress in giving everyone, everywhere the clean water that is their right. Yet climate change threatens to set us back decades and push more people into extreme poverty.
What are we doing to help?
We provide water and sanitation services communities can rely on, along with instilling good hygiene practices. We work with people who've been hit hardest by the effects of climate change to make sure they have a reliable supply of water and decent toilets that withstand flood, drought and natural disaster, and the resources to maintain good hygiene. Because with clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, they can stay disease free, go to school, earn a living and be better prepared for whatever the future brings.
Find out how we're taking climate change action and what you can do to help