The effects of climate change are clear in many of the areas that Just a Drop work in; whether it be through droughts in Zambia, extreme floods in Uganda and Cambodia or failed rains in Kenya. These climatic extremes, combined with future population growth and increased demand for water, is putting increasing pressure on water security both now and also in the future.

Nancy Stone, Just a Drop’s volunteer hydrogeologist, explains how our work helps to improve access to water and build communities’ resilience to climate change.

Most of Just a Drop’s projects focus on developing groundwater as a long-term sustainable source of drinking water and so we drill boreholes that tap into groundwater that's stored underground in local aquifers (rocks that hold water). This water is clean and available all year round.

The engineers and hydrogeologists, like Nancy, who work across our projects think a lot about the borehole design to make sure that we're not risking pulling down the water table in the aquifer around the borehole. In addition to this, we're also very careful to be sure about what the rate of pumping should be. This means that the projects won't lead to the water levels falling and actually lead to the boreholes becoming dry.

However, although groundwater is a great option, it’s not an option everywhere: some rocks are better than others at holding, storing and letting water flow around, so where the underground geology is not really suitable for developing groundwater or, for example if the community we are supporting is on a hill, we need to look for other options. 

In Kenya, climate change has really affected the rainfall patterns, meaning that we need to approach the problem by implementing long-lasting and sustainable innovations that are cost effective and easily managed to conserve water resources. We think about the capture and storage of rain water and surface water runoff. By using solutions such as school rainwater harvesting tanks, rock catchments and sand dams built across seasonal rivers, we can ensure that communities still have access to safe water close to their homes all year round. We add in elements such as land conservation, food and plant management and watershed restoration programmes to complement these programmes, ensuring an holistic approach.