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Supplying Water in Brazil’s Worst Drought in Nearly a Century

Source: RTCC/Fabíola Ortiz - February 17, 2015 in Environment

Brazil is struggling to supply enough water to its 200 million people, amid the worst drought in 84 years.

São Paulo’s 20 million citizens face having their tap water cut off five days a week, in a bid to conserve dwindling resources. Some 17% of Brazilian towns have declared a state of emergency.

In the centre and southeast of the country, electricity supplies are threatened as water levels drop to 18% in the reservoirs for hydropower generation.

“We have never seen such sensitive and worrying situation as this,” admitted the minister of environment, Izabella Teixeira.

Rain scarcity, deforestation of the watersheds around streams and rivers, high consumption in the big urban centers and waste in the water supply system are some of the reasons for the crisis.

It has brought into sharp focus the political response to extreme weather patterns, which are only expected to get more volatile with climate change.

“Public authorities need to be absolutely transparent in the information on the extent of the problem. We are living in a period of scarcity and there’s even a high probability of having a much more prolonged crisis”, said José Galizia Tundisi, president of the International Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IIEGA).

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