Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

News Water Providers Concerned about Climate Change Impact on Services to People in Developing Countries

Many urban water utilities in developing countries lack the information and resources necessary to adapt to adverse impacts from changes in climate, according to a new report from the World Bank and the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).

The water sector will not only be affected by climate change, but it will deliver many of its impacts through floods, droughts, or extreme rainfall events. Water resources will be scarcer and of lesser quality, while water, storm water, and wastewater facilities' infrastructure will face greater risk of damage caused by storms, floods, and droughts. The combined effects are likely to cause difficulties in operations, disrupted services, and increased cost of the water and wastewater services.

In the report, Climate Change and Urban Water Utilities: Challenges & Opportunities, water utilities in developing countries expressed varied levels of concern related to climate change impact, and many cited a lack of capacity to act because of time and other resource constraints.

"Many urban water utilities are extremely busy trying to keep up with their city's population growth, which in many cases already suffer from poor or absent service," said WSP Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist Alexander Danilenko . "This report gives us a needed starting point to engage with utility managers and city government and make the case for the allocation of adaptation funding for water utilities."

The report offers guidance to utilities on considerations in preparing climate adaptation action plans, and on cost estimates of adaptation measures.

Increasingly urban water utilities will require more robust monitoring systems to prepare for, and adapt to the effects of climate change, while currently many actions being implemented are ad-hoc, said Eric Dickson, Urban Economist at the World Bank. "To be more effective, they need to develop a strategic approach that encompasses the technical, financial, and institutional complexities inherent to climate change adaptation."

The report also provides tangible examples of utilities taking action on climate change, and those facing climate-related challenges in their day-to-day operation. Cities from around the world are highlighted in the report including; Singapore, Seville, Seattle, Melbourne, Windhoek, New York, and Istanbul, Rawalpindi, Nairobi, Lima, Dhaka and Tianjin. Click here for a related blog post.

Contact information Eric Dickson and Sasha Danilenko (email:
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).
Keyword(s) water sector, informations,
Geographical coverage International
News date 16/06/2010
Working language(s) ENGLISH