Debate continues to rage as to the veracity of evidence around the permanence of climate change. There is no doubt that changes are occurring across the world and that these changes are causing significant social hardship, including food and water insecurity and large-scale movements of people. What is also emerging in research across the world is that these social impacts and adaptations are highly gendered. This article draws on several years of research on the Australian drought and more recent research on declining water availability in the Murray-Darling Basin of Australia. It notes the significant social impacts, particularly in remote and irrigation areas, and draws out the gendered impacts of these changes. The article argues for more sensitive rights-based social policy to address people who are under extraordinary stress during times of unparalleled change.