3 women and one donkey walk from right to left, carrying large yellow jugs of water on their backs.

Water and Sanitation

Currently, three in ten people lack access to safe drinking water, and six in ten lack access to adequate sanitation. Increased temperatures, more frequent and extreme events like droughts and floods, rainfall variability, and sea level rise all affect freshwater resources for drinking and sanitation, agriculture and irrigation, and industry.

Increasing incidence and severity of droughts and floods can contaminate drinking water, damage water systems, cause sewage overflows, reduce freshwater availability, and exacerbate intrusion of saltwater to aquifers. These adverse impacts are likely to lead to less reliable supplies of water for drinking, hygiene and sanitation, and for agriculture, energy and ecosystems. They may also contribute to conflict over water access or population displacement, and in the case of floods, increase the spread of waterborne disease.

Water resources management is a multisectoral challenge, and connecting this work to Agency programming on climate change, resilience and natural resources management is critical. USAID's contributions aim to improve the availability of water, not only for human health, but for agriculture and food security, economic productivity, and ecosystem health. Improving the efficiency of water systems, which can be very energy-intense, can also contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Features

Climate Resilient Water Infrastructure

Produced through the USAID Be Secure project, this paper compiles data and information on the range of practices in infrastructure design found throughout the Philippines, and how the infrastructure was affected by climate-related events such as damaging storms like Yolanda, as well as droughts during El Niño periods.

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This blog is part of the Benefits of Climate Risk Management blog series that aims to provide evidence-based deep dives into USAID case studies. A USAID-funded Cambodia fisheries project outperformed productivity goals after incorporating climate-sensitive design, including planning for increased risk of drought and extreme heat events.
This blog series features interviews with the winners of the 2020 Climatelinks Photo Contest. This photo, submitted on behalf of iDE Nepal, is available on the Climatelinks Photo Gallery.
Complex relationships between the climate, population growth, land cover change, and other interactions make decisions on land use planning, water permitting, and donor investments in natural resources management challenging. Decision-making on how and where to make investments is improving in Tanzania due to development partners becoming more proficient in using sophisticated environmental analysis tools such as composite index mapping.