Semi-arid river basins often rely on reservoirs for water supply. Small reservoirs may impact on large-scale water availability both by enhancing availability in a distributed sense and by subtracting water for large downstream user communities, e.g. served by large reservoirs. Both of these impacts of small reservoirs are subject to climate change. Using a case-study on North-East Brazil, this paper shows that climate change impacts on water availability may be severe, and impacts on distributed water availability from small reservoirs may exceed impacts on centralised water availability from large reservoirs. Next, the paper shows that the effect of small reservoirs on water availability from large reservoirs may be significant, and increase both in relative and absolute sense under unfavourable climate change.