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  • A view of the Jaguari dam station, part of the Cantareira reservoir, with record low water levels in Braganca Paulista, Sao Paulo state this February (photo: Reuters).

    A view of the Jaguari dam station, part of the Cantareira reservoir, with record low water levels in Braganca Paulista, Sao Paulo state this February (photo: Reuters). | Photo: null

Brazil's largest city is experiencing a record dry season.

More than ten million people in Sao Paulo, Brazil, have been forced to reduce their water use over the last six months. Cantareira, the primary reservoir system that serves the city, is low and the last few days of heavy rains have yet to make a difference.

Climatologist and Eath scientist Antonio Nobre believes that the continued deforestation in the Amazon and the Atlantic forestve has contributed to this drastic climate crisis.

Currently, government authorities have implemented a state-wide cut reducing Sao Paulo's daily water consumption from 62 million liters (16 million gallons) to 8 million liters (2 million gallons). They have also deployed water trucks throughout the city and 5,000 gallon tanks.

The Sao Paulo metropolitan area ended its rainy season in February with only a third of its usual rainfall, 23 centimeters (nine inches) over three months. Recent rainfall in October totaled 25 millimeters (one inch), one fifth its normal rainfall.

"That's what we have learned - that the forests have an innate ability to import moisture and to cool down and to favor rain… If deforestation in the Amazon continues, Sao Paulo will probably dry up. If we don't act now, we're lost," emphasized Nobre.

Recently, the state's largely utility, Sao Paulo's Water Authority, released maps showing which neighborhoods are at risk for water cuts.

The government says that measures to conserve water, such as offering discounted water bills to residents who limit their usage and reducing water pressure during peak hours have been successful strategies.

While water shortages imply significant changes to the global environment, the drought also promises to impact the country's economy as Sao Paulo is Brazil's richest state and fundamental to the country's economic growth. The Sao Paulo water Authority believes that unless water levels recover soon there may be power cuts and further water rationing. 

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