Non-Profit Group Says Brazil May Face Water Shortages During FIFA World Cup
A non-profit group that monitors regional water resources said that Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, "is on the verge of water rationing because of a severe drought and shortages are seen possible" when the country hosts the World Cup tournament in June and July, according to Alerigi & Goy of REUTERS. An "unusually strong high-pressure system over southeast Brazil has blocked the summer rains in recent weeks," causing Sao Paulo's main reservoir to fall to just 20.9% of its capacity as of Wednesday, its lowest level in a decade. Some small cities in Sao Paulo state "have already seen water shortages and rationing imposed." Any decisions about water rationing in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area, which has an estimated population of 20 million, "ultimately reside with the state government and Sabesp, the region's water utility." Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin said on Tuesday that if rains return to the region by Feb. 15, "rationing in the city of Sao Paulo should be avoidable." PCJ Consortium, a non-profit group that monitors rivers feeding into the Cantareira System, said that "water levels are so low that rationing should have started already." The group "is supported by area municipalities and several large companies" (REUTERS, 2/5).