Sao Paulo (Brazil) runs out of water

Sao Paulo runs out of water

Sao Paulo runs out of water

Sao Paulo, Brazil, is in the midst of an untimely crisis that many claim could have been avoided – it’s running out of water, and fast. The Cantareira Water System, an interbasin transfer, provides less than 5% of its capacity of 1 trillion liters. 

Many credit the recent drought-like summer for the water shortage. Others say this could have easily been avoided if cautionary measures were taken earlier.

A Brazillian Problem

Although Sao Paulo is getting the most attention for its water problem, being that it is the largest South American city, the water shortage isn’t just confined to one area.

All of Brazil and other parts of Latin America are being impacted by this drought and 140 cities are currently rationing water as a result of it. To be exact, water is being rationed to about 6 million people throughout 142 cities and 11 states in Brazil – some people are even going without water for days as a result.

The root of the problem? Brasil faced a record dry, hot summer. Only 73 mm of rain fell in the month of February – which is drastically down from the 200+ mm that normally falls throughout the month.

The Cantareira, Sao Paulo's water system runs out of water

The key Cantareira water system, which provides water to some 9 million of the 20 million people metropolitan Sao Paulo city, has less than 16% of its capacity


Many think things could have played out differently to avoid the dehydration. Many proposals were made in the past that would have added more water sources and reservoirs, thereby reducing the dependence on reservoir system ‘the Cantareira.’

The proposals, however, weren’t considered, resulting in more dependence on the Cantareira, which has less of 16% of it’s capacity. And now it appears that the city is paying the price for putting most of their eggs into one water reservoir basket.

Where to go?

To bust out of the water drought, rainfall is an obvious answer. And maybe penalties and incentives will help to motivate consumers using only the water necessary for their household. Still the utility said it “guarantees water supplies” until the next rainy season.



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