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Three major Brazilian cities face water rationing

Severe drought in São Paulo, Brazil, reveals a car once submerged in the Cantareira reservoir system. Graffiti on the car reads "Welcome to the Cantareira desert." (EPA/SEBASTIAO MOREIRA)

The water shortage is so severe in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city and financial hub, that service may have to be suspended five days a week to maximize scarce resources. Vanessa Dezem Baida reports for Bloomberg that Rio and Belo Horizonte also are running low on water in reservoirs. The culprit: below-average rainfall.

Water pressure already is falling in many of São Paulo’s neighborhoods with rationing likely unless there are heavy rains, the article says. The situation is worsened by the failure of authorities to implement conservation efforts that might have avoided the crisis. “As recently as January 15, São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin promised water rationing wouldn’t happen,” Baida reports.

Water levels in São Paulo’s two largest reservoirs had shrunk to just 5.1 percent and 10.7 percent of capacity as of Thursday. In Belo Horizonte, residents would have to reduce water consumption 30 percent to avoid mandatory shutoffs. Rio may be forced to implement water-saving restrictions by May unless rainfall increases, Bloomberg notes. 


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