Explore historical and projected climate data, climate data by sector, impacts, key vulnerabilities and what adaptation measures are being taken. Explore the overview for a general context of how climate change is affecting Malawi.

Impacts Water

Malawi derives its water from both surface and groundwater sources. An extensive river system covers 20% of the country’s surface area. Water resource distribution varies dramatically both by season and by geographic region; almost 90% of the runoff in major rivers occurs between December and June. As both socioeconomic development levels and population growth have increased over the past ten years, water withdrawal for agricultural and municipal purposes has concurrently risen. Unfortunately, unreliable water supplies caused by hydrological variability discourage investment into national industry and services and thwart efforts to promote local economic development and diversification of activities. The increasing frequency of droughts and floods already seriously disrupts water availability, quantity, and quality. In the city of Blantyre, water shortages are common and often lead to disease outbreaks during times of drought. Water shortages also occur during flood events, when water pipes burst and dams silt. 

This section provides insights into projected climate change impacts on various hydrological indicators.


Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals. 

This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.