5 facts on water and climate change

Climate change is about much more than polar bears – it is about the lives of millions of children around the world who are at risk of climate related disasters – such as storms, floods and droughts. On World Water Day, we kicked off a virtual #ClimateChain campaign, with people around the world standing untied for action and protecting the futures of children.

  • The effects of climate change are first felt through water – through droughts, floods or storms. When these disasters hit, they can wipe out entire water supplies or leave them contaminated, risking the lives of millions of children.
  • Almost 60 million children live in areas which already have low levels of access to water and are at risk of drought or flood.
  • At times of drought, many families can’t afford to migrate and must rely on contaminated water supplies. Nearly 160 million children live in areas at high risk of drought.
  • Over 300 million children live in areas at high risk of flooding – with half or more of the population already living on less than USD$3.10 a day. Floodwaters can contaminate water supplies causing widespread disease and exacerbating poverty.
  • Without clean water, children are at risk of diseases such as diarrhoea. Over 800 children die every day from diarrhoea caused by to unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene.
A youg girl stands, arms out, facing the camera.
© UNICEF/UN013514/AyeneHasna Sadik 6, poses for picture under a shade of tree protected from the blistering heat. She is still attending class even though schools often lack meals and drinking clean water.

While this paints a fairly grim picture, there is also good news. UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme is already using innovative solutions, such as solar power water pumps and rain water harvesting, to reduce the impact of climate change on children and help protect their future.

The worst impacts of climate change are not inevitable. Improving equitable access to safe, sustainable and climate resilient water sources will help protect the most vulnerable children before, during and after climate disasters.


Philippa Lysaght is a WASH Communications Specialist in Public Advocacy, Division of Communication, UNICEF.

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  1. How can someone with an idea for addressing some of these issues with an emerging technology get an audience at UNICEF?

  2. Children are the most among the demographics to suffer as a result of water shortage. The impacts of climate change on water sources has made life unbearable for househods children often spent most of their school time in search of water. Nevertheless, the situation is gradually improving with various communities now having access to clean water from the WASH initiative. This has reduced the spread of waterborne diseases as a result of improved personal hygiene and save family income which would have been used to settle medical bills.

  3. Clean drinking water for the last few years is a distant dream.
    People use different gadgets for purifying water.It is ,however,not accessible to the poor.It leads to various diseases.With the growing population,consumption of water increases manifold.
    Consequently,water level plunges down the earth crust.It further complicates the situation.We,
    being the inhabitants on this planet , come forward to taking charge of water conservation not letting it the headache of Governments.

  4. It’s good to talk about the lack of water. And I think that children are the most vulnerable in this case. But I wish that we can educate children about the problem when we’ll finish to put solar polar water Pomp’s. Avoid the wastes et educate children who will be adult tomorrow. The solutions are there but don’t forget to learn people to protect themselves their environment.

  5. Let each one of us continue to persuade one another to stop being reckless with the environment!

  6. Its high time to take action both on individual level and in collebration. Just words will not fill in the gap but every one of us has to contribute.