Water charities and the UN development goals consider access to clean water and sanitation as transformative: improving personal dignity, quality of life and economic opportunities for individuals and the economic resilience of communities to climate stress. Can the provision of services also mitigate the conflict potential arising from climate change? If so, how broad must access be to become effective? We test how household access to improved water, sanitation, and electricity affects the probability of local conflict in nine drought-prone African countries. We use annual PRIO-GRID cells as the unit of analysis and model the probability of a grid-cell experiencing fatal armed conflict during local or proximate drought conditions. DHS data are used to calculate the percentage of households with access to specific services. We show that even relatively modest investments in reliable sanitation and water infrastructures enhance communities’ ability to avoid getting drawn into violent conflict in response to rainfall shocks.