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.


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