South America’s largest city is almost out of water

by Rachel Baker on March 13, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, Brazil’s federal government predicted São Paulo will run out of water by June. They have since changed the prediction date, due to recent rains, but this is still a significant story. São Paulo is the largest city and the economic hub in South America. Due to the worst draught in almost a century, the reservoir for half the city is just over 10% full. About 40% of the homes in the city have had the water haphazardly shut off. It should go without saying, most of these homes are in low-income areas.

The drought is the deciding factor for this water crisis, however, there have been signs and warnings for more than six years, with little done to avoid the problem.

Odds are good this will have a domino effect throughout the whole country and probably the continent. We shouldn’t be surprised to see increases in violence, decreases in economic stability, and decreases in health indicators.

Here’s the Article: South America’s largest city is almost out of water

Many people in São Paulo are worried their future may look a lot like what happened last year in the small, nearby city of Itu.

Part of the Cantareira reservoir, in São Paulo state, in late January. São Paulo’s state government warned six years ago of a water crisis by 2015, but little was done to avoid it.

Last August, without warning, the city’s homes had their water supplies shut off. Residents had to use public taps, and neighbors fought neighbors as dozens of people swarmed around the faucet. The outage went on for weeks, stretching into September. Itu resident Alexandre Oliveira remembers it as “a water war.”

Oliveira volunteered as a water carrier for homebound neighbors, but others charged for the service and became known as “water traffickers.”

Emergency water trucks were eventually called in, but there weren’t enough. When they did arrive, some residents blocked the trucks with flaming barricades to make sure they didn’t leave before every house on the street got water.

But in some low-income neighborhoods, the water trucks never came at all. Elsa Barbosa, who lives in the favela of Chácaras Reunidas Ypê on the edge of Itu, eventually started to use water from a disused old well. “We had to boil it a lot,” she says. “There were stomach aches and vomiting.”

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin

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