Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 5, pp 1027–1039 | Cite as

Water Access, Water Scarcity, and Climate Change

  • Pierre Mukheibir


This article investigates the approaches of the various discourses operating in the water sector and how they address the issues of scarcity and equitable access under projected climate change impacts. Little synergy exists between the different approaches dealing with these issues. Whilst being a sustainable development and water resources management issue, a holistic view of access, scarcity and the projected impacts of climate change is not prevalent in these discourses. The climate change discourse too does not adequately bridge the gap between these issues. The projected impacts of climate change are likely to exacerbate the problems of scarcity and equitable access unless appropriate adaptation strategies are adopted and resilience is built. The successful delivery of accessible water services under projected climate change impacts therefore lies with an extension of the adaptive water management approach to include equitable access as a key driver.


Adaptation Water resource management Climate change Access Scarcity Environment Sustainable development 



The research for this article was made possible with funding from the UNITAR C3D programme.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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