Developing countries are faced with the dual challenge ofadapting to climate change even as current water needs remainunmet. We review the literature speci?cally on waterprovisioning in this context to see what insights can be derivedfor achieving better integration across disciplinary andresearch-practice divides. We identify several disconnects inthe climate-vulnerability literature: scale mismatches, missinglinkages, multiple stressors and concerns, concepts emergingfrom different intellectual traditions, and inattention tostakeholder priorities. Recent work attempts to overcomesome of these challenges. At the conceptual level, the coupledhuman–environment systems (CHES) framework forcesanalysts to address scale mismatches and multiple stressors,although given its breadth, applications of CHES still tend tofollow disciplinary divides. At the methodological level,participatory/mediated modelling forces attention tostakeholder priorities while historical/comparative methodsprovide an empirical assessment of long-term adaptation notjust short-term reactive strategies. In conclusion, we suggestways of further integrating the strengths of these approaches inthe context of water provisioning in developing countries.