Increasing disasters risk is often explained by progressing climate change. At the same time there are many other influential, yet not discussed, factors. The neglected factors can be found in both environmental (e.g. changing land cover) and social (e.g. evolving risks perception) domains. These factors vary depending on regional conditions. To be better prepared for upcoming threats, communities should not only follow global narratives of climate change, but also understand their own regional climate associated risks. The proposed research focuses on river-related disasters, communities and goods. On the one hand, the project relies on the previously conducted studies of historical changes in rivers’s hydrological regimes and the lifestyles of riverine communities adapting to changing conditions. The Don and Ural rivers along with associated Cossack communities are used as a case study for analyzing these transformations. On the other hand, many contemporary climate-related water security issues could and should be explored for having anthropogenic causes. Sometimes these phenomena are unintentional consequences of trade-offs among various users of water management schemes (e.g. the Aral Sea). In other cases, existing risks could have been intentionally aggravated as an instrument in political or economic conflicts.