Water Security

14th December 2022
Author: Kim Ozano Kerry Millington Rachel Cooper

Climate Change, Conflict, Environment, Fragile and Conflict Affected States, Gender, Livelihoods, Security, Sustainable Development Goals, Water

Sustainable Development Goals

1.    No Poverty, 10.  Reduced Inequality, 11.  Sustainable Cities and Communities, 12.  Responsible Consumption and Production, 13.  Climate Action, 15.  Life on Land, 16.  Peace and Justice Strong Institutions, 6.    Clean Water and Sanitation

Water security is important for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being and socio-economic development. Safeguarding sustainable access to adequate quantities of acceptable water as well as ensuring protection against water risks rests on a number of elements including natural processes, infrastructure, institutions and governance.

Overview of the evidence

Water insecurity is growing due to rising global water demands, climate change, urbanisation and environmental degradation. Growing water scarcity, variability, and poor water quality are impacting sustainable development in a number of ways, undermining economic productivity and human well-being. Household water insecurity is a key challenge for combatting disease, including the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shared water security is an essential accelerator for social and economic progress: getting girls into school, creating jobs and economic growth, enabling food security, climate resilience, clean energy, and mitigating conflict. Water is also vital to nature, just as nature is vital to water. Water security is defined as: the reliable availability of an acceptable quantity and quality of water for production, livelihoods, health, and ecosystems, coupled with an acceptable level of risk from hazards including drought, flooding, pollution, and conflicts.

The Water Security learning package aims to build capacity and knowledge around the relationship between water security and climate change, the importance of water security for development, the links between water resources and WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), and, the role of water in COVID-19 related recovery work. It also shares content from the K4D Water Security Learning Journey, that ran over three phases between 2020 and 2022.


The resources below have been selected due to their relevance to the learning package. Explore them to strengthen your understanding of water security.

Continents, regions and countries