In this paper we outline different theoretical approaches, namely outcome vulnerability, contextual vulnerability, and resilience, for addressing climate change effects in the context of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. We analysed how these three approaches were employed in the WASH-climate change nexus literature, and discuss the implications for WASH research, policy, and development work. Our analysis of 33 scholarly WASH-climate change nexus papers found that they implicitly draw most frequently on an outcome vulnerability approach that tended to focus on the impact of projected climate change hazards on physical aspects of WASH service delivery. Each individual approach has limitations due to their disciplinary and epistemological foundations and the WASH sector in particular must be mindful of who stands to benefit most and what values will be upheld when these approaches are used. We argue that in most cases it will be beneficial to draw on all approaches and describe challenges and opportunities for integrating different perspectives on preparing for climate change within the WASH sector.
- climate change
- First received 17 September 2016.
- Accepted in revised form 1 January 2017.
- © IWA Publishing 2017