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Water being rationed to 6 million people in Brazil

Bloomberg reports that in Brazil, “water was being rationed to almost 6 million people in 142 cities in 11 states as supplies shrink in reservoirs and rivers to decade-low levels.”

“The southern cities of Guarulhos, Sao Caetano do Sul and Diadema say Brazil’s biggest water utility cut supplies as much as a third in response to the worst drought in decades. Guarulhos, site of Sao Paulo’s international airport, said last week it was rationing in six neighborhoods.”

“Brazil’s heat wave and driest rainy season in decades has hurt coffee and sugar cane output at the world’s top producer of the crops as well as soy forecasts.”

A Businessweek article adds, “Coffee jumped the most in a decade, soybeans reached the highest since December and sugar rallied as drought scorches fields in Brazil, the world’s biggest exporter of the crops. …Prices for arabica coffee surged 40 percent in 2014 as production losses in Brazil’s top growing state may be as much as 30 percent, the biggest farmers’ group estimates.”

In her book Blue Future: Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever, Maude Barlow highlights Brazil’s support for the UN resolution on the right to water and sanitation (page 31) and its non-participation in bilateral investment treaties (page 230), but also notes its fast-tracking of approvals for water use for mining and other unsustainable water intensive practices (page 260), the use of water for the production of biofuels (page 177-79), the impact of virtual water exports (page 168), and the growing threat of desertification there (page 16).

Blue Future is set to be published in Brazil and will undoubtedly be a welcome contribution to the water justice movement there. 

On June 5, Barlow will be in Porto Alegre, Brazil to speak on the right to water.

Further reading
The right to water and sanitation in Brazil