Friday, 21 August 2015

Update on the Sao Paulo emergency

There has been silence for the last couple of months on the drought in Sao Paulo,Brazil. 

The aquifers are drained and the weather systems have 

been disrupted, only chaos beckons.

Comments on Facebook from a local:

Yesterday our incompetent and irresponsible govrnor officially admited that we have a water crisis and it´s a serious one...Only yesterday he admited that!!...I think Sao Paulo might be the first huge city in the world to collapse due to lack of water, and if it isn´t this year it will probably be next year...we have olympic games in Rio scheduled for August, right on the dry season (Rio is really short on wate as well and many people will come to Sao Paulo as well), so maybe maybe we´ll have a major crisis happening right where everybody is looking...that might wake some people up!.”

The government of the State makes it official the water crisis in the Great SP
Responsible for providing for 4.5 mn people, the Tietê river crosses the driest month of the story

Governo do Estado torna oficial a crise hídrica na Grande SP.

In addition to the Cantareira (photo), Alto Tietê goes through a serious crisis

20 August, 2015

Via Yandex Translate

More than a year and a half after the beginning of the crisis, the government of Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB) has published this Tuesday (19), the ordinance in which officially recognized, for the first time, that the water situation in the Great São Paulo is critical. The measure allows the State to suspend the licenses of attracting private surface water and groundwater to prioritize the public water supply in the region where they live more than 20 million people.

The recognition of the severity of the crisis was billed by promoters and civil entities since 2014 when it started the crisis due to the drought in the Cantareira System, one of the six water sources that supply the region. The ordinance was published in the Official Gazette by the superintendent of the DAEE (Department of Water and Electric Energy of São Paulo), Ricardo Borsari, responsible for the management of water resources in the State.

In the document, "he declares in a situation of critical water the basin of the upper Tietê", where five of the six systems that supply the greater São Paulo. He claims that the reason for this is the "gravity of the situation-storage" of one of these systems, the Alto Tietê. Still, according to the ordinance, "the actions of the special character should be adopted in order to ensure the water availability of safe and efficient". Searched yesterday, the DAEE not commented on the measure.

Responsible for attending to the 4.5 million people, the Alto Tietê System, which crosses the driest month of the story and accounted for yesterday only 15.6% of capacity. In December 2014, the beginning of the rainy season, the level of wealth came to 4%. According to the DAEE, the drought is more acute in 2015, the low stock of the reservoirs and the "negative potential of this anomalous situation about the populations served by the Alto Tietê System," led to the declaration of criticality.

In the ordinance, the DAEE states that it is "an ongoing obligation of the State to mitigate risks to the public water supply", and cites the laws and decrees that authorize the government to suspend, partially or fully grants that release the water in rivers, dams and boreholes for "meet the uses of the priority of collective interest". The text says that the pickup without the grant of the organ is the infraction punishable by a fine.

'The water crisis is lasting longer than imagined,' says director of Sabesp

For the promoter Alexandra Facciolli, the Gaema (Acting Group Special of the Environment) of Piracicaba, the declaration of critical water "formality is essential by the Law of the National Sanitation Policy for the application of the restrictive measures, such as fine and rationing". Both have already been adopted by Sabesp (Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo), with the endorsement of the government.

— This measure will spark a more stringent control over the borrowing is not allowed, and set which restrictive measures may be adopted to ensure the public water supply.

She reminds him that since march a resolution of the DAEE and ANA (National Water Agency) to the Basin of the Rivers FP (Piracicaba, Capivari, and Jundiaí), has defined the criteria for the restriction of the use of the water according to the situation of the rivers. Yesterday, for the first time, the cities of the region had to reduce uptake by up to 30%.

Claims filed in court by prosecutors and civil entities have already charged the official declaration of the crisis before the release of emergency works and collection of surcharge. All were judged to be inappropriate or overturned by appeal by the government. "They reversed the order of the process. First apply the fine, after you recognize the situation, and the contingency plan was not introduced until today", criticizes Marco Antonio Araújo, president of the Committee for the Defence of the Consumer of the Order of Lawyers of Brazil.

The information is from The newspaper o Estado de S. Paulo.

More on the situation in Sao Paulo

Drought drives water shortage to critical stage in Sao Paulo, Brazil

19 November, 2015

Officials in Sao Paulo state have announced that the water shortage in the city of the same name is now "critical," with multimillion-dollar emergency construction projects so far failing to ease the situation.

The announcement was the first time the state government officially recognized the severity of the water crisis and permits the suspension of licenses that allow agriculture, industry and other private concerns to draw directly from area water supplies.

The statement, issued Tuesday, comes at the height of Brazil's dry season, with water levels in Sao Paulo city's two main reservoirs extremely low. The Cantareira reservoir is below 17% of capacity; the Alto Tiete reservoir, which at this point in 2013 was at 60.9% of capacity, is at just 15.4%.

Southeastern Brazil is facing its worst drought in more than 80 years. The city of Sao Paulo, which usually averages a scant-enough 1.4 inches of rain in August, has had scarcely a trace this month. It is the largest city in South America, with a population of about 20 million.

Intended as quick fixes to a problem that critics say has been brewing for years, civil engineering emergency "mega-projects" undertaken by the Sao Paulo state government have run into problems, exacerbating the situation and helping to trigger this week's announcement.

The first project, at a cost of $8.3 million, was inaugurated June 29 by Gov. Geraldo Alckmin and connects the River Guaio to the Taiacupeba Reservoir via a pipeline intended to carry about 265 gallons of water a second into Sao Paulo city's water supply. But the pumps have been idle because of insufficient flow in the small river as a result of dry weather.

Another megaproject, the largest underway, is expected to carry water from Billings Reservoir into the Alto Tiete system via a nearly 7-mile pipeline. Originally scheduled to begin operation in May, work on the $37.4-million project didn't start until May 4, with its launch date first pushed back to August and then to October.

The "critical situation" statement says that "special measures should be taken to secure the availability of water in a safe and efficient manner." That opens the way for the possible suspension of licenses that authorize businesses, agricultural enterprises and private entities to draw directly from Sao Paulo's rivers and reservoirs and groundwater via artesian wells.

The announcement was "overdue" and "incomplete" and also may pave the way for water rationing, Ricardo Manuel Castro, an official with the state public prosecutor's office, told Brazil's G1 news network. The state government has tried to avoid formal rationing, despite unofficial rationing that leaves hundreds of thousands of Sao Paulo residents without water for hours each day, and in some cases for days on end.

Last week, a report published by the Sao Paulo state audit office called the water shortage a result of "lack of planning in state hydric resources," stating that if warning signs evident as long ago as 2004 had been heeded, the crisis could have been averted or minimized.

The audit office called on the state government to publish an official contingency plan, which had been expected in April, following the state's first and only crisis meeting on the water shortage held in February. The mayors of 39 municipalities in Sao Paulo city's metropolitan region, including Sao Paulo's Fernando Haddad, have also pressed for a contingency plan, which would allow them to take legal measures to mitigate the water shortage.

At a news conference in July, Gov. Alckmin said that the plan would be delivered but that it was unnecessary, calling it "useless paperwork; it's a waste of public money, since no contingency will be needed."

1 comment:

  1. Some points to keep in mind with this update:

    1. The basic problem is only exascerbated by global warming. The fundamental source of the problem is the long-term reduction in the extent and density of the Amazon rain forest. The deforestation has a major impact on the regional climate and hydrology, which in turn affects the climate and hydrology of adjacent regions.

    2. News stories tend to focus on the superficial and immediate aspects. Underlying the posted update is a drought-caused reduction in agriculture and other basic economic activity, which leads to decreased social/governmental revenues and thus reduces resources for coping with the effects of the problem.

    3. The response patterns of the different governmental levels in Brazil to the Sao Paolo drought and water crisis are more or less typical of governmental response patterns all over the world, up to and including the upcoming COP in Paris. But mainstream mass media must, of course, foster the vain hope that "the Emperor does indeed have a most wonderful new suit of clothes (which will be shown to the public in the very near future)."