Water and Sanitation Operators at the Forefront in Addressing Climate Change

Climate change has a direct impact on water and sanitation, posing one of the most significant global challenges for society. Service providers stand at the forefront in addressing this issue in their daily operations, and adaptation is achievable.

Societies, cities, and communities worldwide grapple with the devastating consequences of climate change, including extreme weather events and natural disasters such as floods, droughts, rising sea levels, heat waves, landslides, and violent storms. These factors significantly impact water sources and infrastructure. Additionally, shifts in consumer behavior due to rising temperatures further compound challenges, adding to the pressures on water sources and operators alongside issues like rapid urbanization.

To effectively address climate change-related pressures on water management, resources, and infrastructure, water, and sanitation operators must develop climate response plans, leverage appropriate technologies, and implement good practices to transition into climate-adaptive institutions.

Taking these steps is crucial for adaptation and building resilience. The Water and Sanitation Operators’ Partnerships (commonly known as WOPs and SWOPs) provide support and empowerment to service providers. These solidarity-based, not-for-profit, and capacity-building-focused partnerships progressively strengthen utilities on management, financial, and technical levels, facilitating operational and organizational changes that lead to better and sustainable access to water and sanitation services for all.

As an UN-Habitat-facilitated global programme, the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), established in 2009, is an international network with over 140 institutional and 1,200 individual members, leading a global movement of Water and Sanitation Operators’ Partnerships. The alliance employs a not-for-profit and peer-to-peer approach, connecting water and sanitation service providers to enhance access to water, aligning with the goal of achieving SDG 6.

Contact Person

Åsa Jonsson

Head, Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance, Urban Basic Services Section, UN-Habitat.


For general inquiries unhabitat-gwopa@un.org