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Water use in Brazil is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2030; drought will cause major problems

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In the next decade, the increase in the consumption of treated water in Brazil is one of the factors that should amplify the problems caused by the prolonged droughts and the precarious national infrastructure of distribution. By 2030, water use will grow by 24 percent over the current volume, as a result of the urbanization process, industry expansion, agribusiness and economy.

The information is part of the study Conjuntura de Recursos Hídricos – 2018. The report had access to the main data of the survey prepared annually by the National Water Agency (ANA). The material should be released this week.

The total withdrawal of water in the country for consumption was 2,083 cubic meters per second (m³ / s) in 2017. The main destination of this water was agribusiness. Irrigation accounted for 52 percent of the total volume, and another 8 percent was used for raising animals. Human consumption in cities accounted for 23.8 percent of consumption, followed by industry (9.1 percent), thermoelectric power plants (3.8 percent), rural supply (1.7 percent) and mining (1.6 percent).

The hydrographic regions with the highest withdrawal are those of the Paraná River basin (496 m³/s), followed by the South Atlantic basin (305 m³/s) and the São Francisco basin (282 m³/s). Together, these regions account for approximately 52 percent of total water withdrawal in Brazil.

Marcelo Cruz, director of ANA, says that the projection of growth is worrisome, despite the fact that Brazil has recorded an 80 percent increase in total water in the last two decades. “The outlook for growth is high and it inspires a wake-up call so that we have compatible management. It does not mean that we are in a scenario out of control because our water supply numbers are comfortable,” says Cruz. “On the other hand, there is a lot to be done. More than half of the water that we take from our sources and produce does not reach the consumer due to infrastructure problems.”

Reservoirs
The rains of 2018 have contributed to the recovery of some of the largest water reservoirs in the country, such as Sobradinho (BA) and Furnas (MG), although these dams require some more rainy seasons to regain their regular levels.

Exactly one year ago, Sobradinho Lake, the main reservoir of the Northeast Region, located on the São Francisco River, was only 4 percent of its total water capacity. Today this volume is at 29 percent. The Furnas reservoir, the “sea of ​​Minas” that bathed 34 municipalities of Minas Gerais, was 10 percent of its maximum volume of water a year ago. Today it accumulates 24 percent in its dam.

This year, rainfall has also been favorable to the Descoberto River reservoir, a lake located 50 kilometers from Brasília, which supplies more than 60 percent of the Federal District’s consumption. A year ago, Descoberto agonized with only 5.3 percent of its potential.

On Monday, 17, according to data from the Regulatory Agency of Water (Adasa) of the DF, reached 97 percent of its capacity. The improvement led the agency to announce that, as of Friday, the end of the “critical situation of water shortage” in the Federal District will be declared. The DF government had officialized the critical supply situation two years and three months ago, on September 16, 2016.