Brazil's southeast region signs agreement to combat drought

Friday, November 28, 2014

Brazil's São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais state governors signed an agreement on water projects aimed at jointly combating the current drought in the tri-state region.

The decision was made at a reconciliation hearing at the federal supreme court in Brasilia attended by the governors, and which was convened by the judge hearing the case, Luiz Fux, according to a São Paulo state government release.

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One measure being considered is to divert water from the Jaguari river, a tributary of the Paraiba do Sul river basin, which supplies the three states, with the aim of supplying the Cantareira reservoir. The proposal for use of the Jaguari river water by São Paulo was first presented by state governor Geraldo Alckmin at the beginning of the year.

Conflict among the neighboring states erupted in mid-2014 when São Paulo announced plans to carry out projects to divert water from the river to the state.

According to the agreement, a joint proposal addressing overall water use has to be submitted by February 28, 2015, the release said.

Cantareira reservoir in São Paulo

Cantareira reservoir in São Paulo

Alckmin signed the agreement with Rio de Janeiro governor Luiz Fernando Pezão and Minas Gerais governor Alberto Pinto Coelho.

Brazil's largest water utility Sabesp provides water for São Paulo, while Copasa serves Minas Gerais and Cedae serves Rio de Janeiro.