Perceptions of climate-related risk among water sector professionals in Africa—Insights from the 2016 African Water Association Congress

The ability of water and wastewater utilities to provide safe and reliable water and sanitation services now and in the future will be determined, in part, by their resilience to climate change. Investment in infrastructure, planning, and operational practices that increase resilience are affected, in turn, by how water sector professionals perceive the risks posed to utilities by climate change and its related impacts. We surveyed water sector professionals at the 2016 African Water Association’s Congress in Nairobi, Kenya to assess their perceptions of climate-specific and general risks that may disrupt utility service. We find that water sector professionals are most concerned about climate-specific and general risks that affect utility water supplies (quantity), followed by adequacy of utility infrastructure. We also find that professionals tend to rank climate-specific risks as less concerning than general risks facing utilities. Furthermore, non-utility professionals are more concerned about climate-specific risks and climate change in general than utility professionals. These findings highlight the multiple, competing risks utilities face and the need for adaptation strategies that simultaneously address climate-specific and general concerns of utilities.

Perceptions of climate-related risk among water sector professionals in Africa—Insights from the 2016 African Water Association Congress. Katherine Connolly, Mwaura Mbutu, Jamie Bartram, David Fuente. 2018. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, Volume 221: 838-846. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.04.007.