Women are both the primary users and managers with regard to securing water for productive and domestic uses. Water management and governance is critical for food security and livelihoods, and women in their role as the primary providers ensure that the wider community is cared for. However, due to climate change, fresh water sources are significantly affected. Water insecurity affects the amount of time expended to collect, store and distribute water (often a responsibility of women). In the collection of water, women and girls face the risk of increased violence and health issues which greatly limits their adaptive capacities.

Lessons Learned

  • Enhancing water access does not, in and of itself, build gender equity or advance gender equality. Even if it reduces women’s workload, the provision of water needs to go hand in hand with careful consideration of gender power dynamics around access to water and other resources.

  • Solutions for improving access to water must be designed with the objective of creating conditions for equitable access. This includes taking into account affordability, particularly for the most vulnerable.

  • Adaptation projects should seek to address gender bias in access to irrigated land, where it exists, through affirmative action (e.g. quotas or special measures).

  • Strengthening access to water also involves gender-equitable sharing of household responsibilities and community decisions around water. This includes investing in social mechanisms for equitable management of and rights over water.

Managing water-related conflicts during times of water stress

Managing tensions around access to scarce water resources is important, not only to ensure sustainability of new water sources (for both domestic and agricultural use), but also to mitigate the risk of reinforcing existing gender inequalities in access to water for irrigation.

Successful Examples

Gender differences in access to water for domestic use and irrigation

Women and men have different roles and responsibilities in the area of water management. By and large, women and girls are heavily involved in managing water for domestic use, and men and boys are more concerned with water for irrigation. Adaptation projects have the potential to address the gender bias in relation to water access.

Successful Examples

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Promoting the participation and leadership of women in water management

Management of water resources is a critical issue, which requires specific mechanisms in order to reduce potential conflicts. At the same time, the role of women in these management systems has implications on gender equality and dynamics within the community, which affect adaptation.

Successful Examples

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