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 entitled The missing link in climate adaptation: How improved access to water and sanitation is helping cities adapt to climate change shows how improved access to water and sanitation services is the missing link in helping cities adapt to climate change.

Download the report

Climate change is bringing a wealth of challenges to cities, such as heat rise, increased migration, flooding and impacts from extreme weather and most of these are felt through water.

Cities across sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia already struggle to provide equitable access to clean water and safe sanitation. And climate change is making the situation worse – exacerbating inequalities and impacting on residents’ health and prosperity.

The report identifies that access to water and sanitation services are often neglected in the debate around how to improve climate resiliency in cities, even though climate change is affecting access to water and sanitation.

These challenges are further exacerbated by a wide range of issues in low-income urban communities such as: poor drainage, lack of solid waste management, and low-quality housing.

It analyses the impacts of climate change on access to water and sanitation across cities and towns in seven countries and outlines the challenges that service providers are facing as well as documents initiatives that are taking place to tackle the issue.

Based on this analysis, WSUP presents four recommendations for helping water and sanitation providers to tackle the threat caused by climate change.

1. Use every drop

2. Protect the infrastructure

3. Strengthen systems

4. Integrate with wider city resilience

“We must work together to offer innovative and effective solutions to tackle the adverse impact of climate change on the poor people of the city.”

Md Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, MayorChattogram City Corporation, Bangladesh


WSUP is proud to support the Water Pavilion, a collaboration of over 30 organisations, governments and companies in the water space. We will be bringing city leaders from Africa to the discussions at COP. Join us as we present through a unified voice the role of water in climate adaptation.

Find out more: City leaders to highlight adaptation efforts in urban water at COP26