Brazil Water Scarcity

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  • Brazil Water Scarcity

    1. 1. Water Scarcity Case Study for IB GeographyProduced by Alan Parkinson as part of the first EcolintGeography Conference 2012, held at the International School of Geneva
    2. 2. Handouts
    3. 3. Water Scarcity DefinitionThere is enough freshwater on the planet for sixbillion people but it is distributed unevenly and toomuch of it is wasted, polluted and unsustainablymanaged.Affected by:1.Precipitation2.Water availability3.Affordability of water supplies4.Infrastructure
    4. 4. 2 types of scarcityPhysical scarcityLack of available water where water resourcedevelopment is near or at unsustainablelevels. Levels of consumption approachinglevels of supply.Economic scarcityLack of water, even where water is available,but not accessible for human, institutional orfinancial reasons. Lack of storage andtransport facilities.
    5. 5. Case Study BRAZILCase Study image above made with Tagxedo.com - upload your own image...
    6. 6. “Water is a key element of Brazil’s strategy topromote sustainable growth and a more equitableand inclusive society. Brazil’s achievements inpoverty reduction and economic development inthe past forty years have been closely linked to theexpansion of water services to more than 100million people and sanitation services to more than50 million people.” – The World Bank Water Challenges for Brazil 1. Water scarcity – prevalent in the predominantly poor Northeast and large metropolitan areas 2. Water pollution – especially in urban areas, causing environmental damage and increasing the cost of water treatment for downstream users 3. Drought and flood events – the frequency and severity of which is increasing with climate change 4. Unequal access to water and sanitation services – especially among the urban poor 6
    7. 7. The amount of rainforest in Brazil suggests that it isnot short of rainfall.But water scarcity is not necessarily an absence ofwater.And 80% of water in the forests is not linked to the 12%of the population who live there.Brazil has a varied hydrological profile. It is one of theworld’s largest countries, and access to water variesgreatly.It also has 15% of the world’s freshwater, although thisis not equally distributed, and supplies in urban areasare often polluted.There is physical water scarcity of potable water. 7
    8. 8. There is no shortage of water at the Iguacu Falls on theborder with Argentina.However, there are many large HEP schemes whichhave huge water needs to maintain energy productionetc.The UK and the EU are reliant on Brazilian ‘virtual’water to produce a great many food products whichcannot be grown in the EU. 8
    9. 9. There is currently a drought in the state of Bahia.The semi-arid NE of Brazil is also the poorest part ofthe country.It has 35% of the population, but only 4% of the water.There are also issues of economic scarcity due to thelack of infrastructure.Make sure that you can draw a sketch map to identifythe location of this state. 9
    10. 10. Inequality in the spontaneous settlements (favelas)Sao Paulo has 11% of population, but only 1% of thewater.There are some areas which lack a decent water supply,although the majority of houses do have one.Sanitation is a linked issue. Surface water andgroundwater can become contaminated in some urbanareas. 10
    11. 11. Barriers to Serving the Informal Settlements(link to the reasons for economic water scarcity)• Political – transition from dictatorship to democracy• Institutional – water company not trained/equipped towork with urban poor• Legal – water company reluctant to serve those withoutlegal title to their land• Technical – high service standards conflict with haphazardlayout of informal settlements (narrow streets, steepinclines, environmentally sensitive areas)After Tierney (see reference...) 11
    12. 12. IMPORTANT TO REMEMBERWater availability is variable in time and space and therefore itsshort and long-term future availability is uncertain. One river basinmay be suffering extended drought while neighbouring river basinsmay be experiencing devastating floods.Equally, a given river basin may experience droughts and floods inquick succession. Understanding operational and strategic riskaround water is therefore different from understanding naturalresources, such as minerals or forests, which tend to be more static. 12
    13. 13. Future issue:2014: World Cup2016: OlympicsFederal Govt is taking action on ‘ongoing watershortages’Energy is linked as it is required to distribute water -any shortages of energy would impact on water.The eyes of the world will be turned towards Brazil. 13
    14. 14. Referenceshttp://www.hks.harvard.edu/cchrp/hr2w/study_group/fall_2011_downloads/Sept27_Slides_Tierney.pdfhttp://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/water_scarcity_aw.pdfA useful map here: http://8020vision.com/2010/06/27/water-scarcity-in-the-us/ 14

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