Variable climate conditions, resulting in periods of water scarcity and longer dry spells, or intense rainfall events, have serious implications for water and sanitation services. Climate change threatens to exacerbate these hazards, increasing risks to household water security, and associated impacts on health, wellbeing and livelihoods. These risks are not evenly distributed across individuals and communities, and there is a particular need to understand women’s vulnerabilities and responses to these risks due to disproportionate impacts of poor water and sanitation conditions.

Gendered water-related roles and norms were found to drive vulnerabilities for women in the case study site particularly related to increasingly inadequate water availability during the dry season. Other social differences such as Mossi and Peul ethnicity which influence ways of using water, also contributed to women’s differential vulnerability and capacities to respond. These findings show there is a need to consider how the development of ‘climate resilient’ water and sanitation services take social drivers of vulnerability into account.