São Paulo water plans must consider population growth - utility

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Brazilian authorities must take into account population growth in the metropolitan region of São Paulo as they work to tackle the southeast's current water supply crisis.

That's according to local water utility Águas Guariroba president José João Fonseca.

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"To avoid water supply crises, waterworks providers should have the capacity to supply more water than there is currently a demand for, and this includes paying attention to population growth," Fonseca told BNamericas.

From 2000-2010, the population in state capital São Paulo alone increased by around 800,000, to 11.2mn.

The city's population has been growing by some 175,000/y since 2010, and is expected to be around 11.9mn this year, figures from Brazil's statistics bureau IBGE show.

The metropolitan region of the city currently has more than 20mn people living there, and the state has a population of approximately 44mn.

According to environment minister Izabella Teixeira, a lack of investment by state water utility Sabesp over the past decade has contributed to the current crisis.

To help tackle supply shortage issues, Sabesp outlined an 826mn-real (US$336mn) emergency 2014-15 investment plan earlier this year. The biggest allotment is for a 501mn-real project to interlink the Paraíba do Sul river basin in Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais states to São Paulo state's Cantareira water supply system.