Drinking-water supply and sanitation services are essential for human health, but their technologies and management systems are potentially vulnerable to climate change. An assessment was made of the resilience of water supply and sanitation systems against forecast climate changes by 2020 and 2030. The results showed very few technologies are resilient to climate change and the sustainability of the current progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may be significantly undermined. Management approaches are more important than technology in building resilience for water supply, but the reverse is true for sanitation. Whilst climate change represents a significant threat to sustainable drinking-water and sanitation services, through no-regrets actions and using opportunities to increase service quality, climate change may be a driver for improvements that have been insufficiently delivered to date.
Keywords: climate change, decadal forecasts, drinking water, less developed countries, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), sanitation