Nor any Drop to Drink
Dry Weather and a Growing Population Spell Rationing
BRAZIL has the world’s biggest reserves of fresh water. That most of it sits in the sparsely populated Amazon has not historically stopped Brazilians in the drier, more populous south taking it for granted. No longer. Landlords in São Paulo, who are wont to hose down pavements with gallons of potable water, have taken to using brooms instead. Notices in lifts and on the metro implore paulistanos to take shorter showers and re-use coffee mugs.
São Paulo state, home to one-fifth of Brazil’s population and one-third of its economic activity, is suffering the worst drought since records began in 1930. Pitiful rainfall and high rates of evaporation in scorching heat have caused the volume of water stored in the Cantareira system of reservoirs, which supplies 10m people, to dip below 12% of capacity. This time last year, at the end of what is nominally the wet season, it stood at 64%.
On April 21st the governor, Geraldo Alckmin, warned that from May consumers will be fined for increasing their water use. Those who cut consumption are already rewarded with discounts on their bills. The city will tap three basins supplying other parts of the state, but since these reservoirs have also been hit by drought and supply hydropower plants, fears of blackouts are rising. Click here to continue reading.
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit