From the front line of climate change: residents tell their stories

Themes: Climate change Sanitation WASH Water
Countries: Bangladesh Bangladesh-local Mozambique Mozambique-local Zambia Zambia-local

What does climate change mean for the most vulnerable people living in urban areas?

Ahead of this year’s World Water Day, WSUP has been finding out how climate change affects the water and sanitation needs of city residents.

The following stories give a snapshot of the challenges faced around the world, from rising temperatures in Bangladesh to destruction of water systems in Mozambique.

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Bangladesh: warmer temperatures and increased flooding

Community leader in Dhaka

Mohsin Howlader, community leader in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Mohsin Howlader, a community leader in Dhaka, told us:

“The summer is getting warmer each year and the demand for drinking water is increasing. I have a family of four and we used to consume one pitcher of drinking water a day in summer, but in recent times we have to fill the pitcher twice.”

In Beguntila, 4,500 people live in a tiny community which has three times the population density of the rest of the city. Five years ago, with WSUP’s support, the community was connected to the main water network, operated by Dhaka Water & Sewerage Authority.

As demand for water increases, there is not always enough water available. Even worse, during the rainy season residents have to cross hazardous flooded areas to fetch water.

Mozambique: recovering from the effects of Cyclone Idai

Henriqueta Luís, a resident of Beira, Mozambique

One year after Cyclone Idai destroyed large parts of the city of Beira, Henriqueta Luís still suffers from lack of clean water.

“Sometimes the water that we drink is unclean and this results in diarrhoea, vomiting and cholera,” she said.

The cyclone destroyed much of the water infrastructure, meaning that Henriqueta frequently has to walk long distances seeking safe water. Even a simple water fountain near to her home would make a huge difference to her life, and WSUP is working with local communities as well as the water utility FIPAG to bring this much needed service to Henriqueta and many others.

As climate change makes extreme weather like cyclones more common, building stronger, more resilient water infrastructure has never been more important.

Zambia: ongoing drought

Kennedy Mpundu, a resident of Livingstone, Zambia

Kennedy Mpundu, a resident in the southern city of Livingstone, said:

“We get water for about five hours in a day and sometimes less, we have experienced very little rainfall in some years… During such times I have had to reduce the size of my vegetable garden or do away with it completely so that I save water.”

In Livingstone, southern Zambia, long-lasting drought over the past year has wreaked havoc on water services. The utility responsible for providing water in the region, Southern Water & Sewerage Company, has seen five sources of water dry up completely.

WSUP is working with the utility and communities to improve water management in Livingstone and increase the ability of residents living in informal settlements to access water services.

Find out more about WSUP's work on climate change