Climate change is water change.

Already in cities, the poorest residents struggle to get enough clean water for their daily needs.

And climate change is making the situation worse – exacerbating inequalities, and impacting on residents’ health and prosperity.

Increased drought, more extreme flooding and rising sea levels are all affecting water supply. Higher temperatures mean that people need to drink more water just to get through the day. Climate change is also forcing people to migrate from rural areas to makeshift urban neighbourhoods, increasing the demand on fragile services.

We need to act now to help cities improve their resilience to climate change, through strengthened water and sanitation systems.


The summer is getting warmer each year and the demand for drinking water is increasing.

Mohsin Howlader
Mohsin Howlader, Community leaderDhaka

The missing link in urban climate adaptation

Clean water and safe sanitation services have the potential to play a major role in helping the poorest urban communities adapt to climate change. Yet, access to these services in building urban climate resilience has been significantly undervalued.

A new report by WSUP shows how improved access to water and sanitation services is the missing link in helping cities adapt to climate change.

Report: October 2021 – The missing link in urban climate adaptation

Rebuilding in the wake of climate disasters

In the aftermath of the 2019 Cyclone Idai, which caused extensive damage to Beira in Mozambique, WSUP is supporting the city to rebuild water and sanitation services.

Our work aims to create more resilient services so that, as extreme weather events in the region become more common, vulnerable residents in Beira have sustainable access to clean water and safe sanitation.

Blog: June 2021 – Two years on from Cyclone Idai: new video shows how Beira is rebuilding

Building more resilient water services

As the effects of man-made climate change become more pronounced, water shortages are becoming more common throughout Africa, with Southern Africa identified as a particular climate change hotspot.

Video: March 2020 – Bright water, bright future: creating climate resilient services in Madagascar

Report: August 2020 – Building resilience to climate change: experiences from Southern Zambia

Rasoa, resident in Antananarivo

Climate proofing sanitation systems

Challenges such as water shortages, and increased severity of flooding can result in basic sanitation systems becoming overwhelmed.

As a result, there is a need to rethink urban sanitation systems to make them fit for purpose and more suitable for those residents most at risk from climate change.

Blog: November 2020 – Water-smart, inclusive and integrated: ways to climate-proof sanitation systems

Melita Zeca, resident in Beira

Protecting against the affects of worsening flooding

Climate change is causing more flooding, which can wreak havoc on water and sanitation infrastructure. In 2020, the city of Rangpur, Bangladesh, was badly affected by flooding; whilst in Maputo, Mozambique, we have worked with the city council to improve drainage around low-income communities.

Blog: November 2020 – How climate change is worsening sanitation in Rangpur, Bangladesh

Report: February 2018 – An integrated approach to peri-urban sanitation and hygiene in Maputo