Brazil rations water in 140 cities
Some neighborhoods only receive water once every three days. Water is being rationed to nearly 6 million people living in a total of 142 cities across 11 states in Brazil, the world's leading exporter of soybeans, coffee, orange juice, sugar and beef. Water supply companies told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that the country's reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they have been in 20 years. A record heat wave could raise energy prices and damage crops.
Some neighborhoods in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state (which accounts for one-quarter of Brazil's population and one-third of its GDP), only receive water once every three days, for a total of 13 hours.
Brazil's water utility company Sabesp said on its website that the Cantareira water system (the largest of the six that provide water to nearly half of the 20 million people living in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo) is at less than 19 percent of its capacity of 1 trillion liters.
The company described the situation at Cantareira as critical: the amount of rain registered in the month to January was the lowest in 84 years. Sabesp said the other five water supply systems in Sao Paulo's metropolitan area were normal for this time of year, however.
The PCJ Consorcio water association said the area would have to see 17 millimeters of rain a day for two months until Cantareira's water level recovers to 50 percent of its capacity. ■