Supreme court rejects injunction against Sabesp's water transfer plan

By
Thursday, November 6, 2014

Brazilian supreme court justice Luiz Fux rejected a request for an injunction filed by federal prosecutors seeking to restrict São Paulo state water utility Sabesp from replenishing its Cantareira supply system with water from Rio de Janeiro state's Paraíba do Sul river.

National water agency ANA is seeking federal approval for Sabesp to carry out a 504mn-real (US$210mn) project to transfer water from the river. However, as Paraíba do Sul provides energy – as well as water – for Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais states, it falls under federal government jurisdiction.

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Prosecutors, who are currently analyzing the transfer project, say it poses a serious risk to the environment and the health of people in the states. They are also requesting more environmental impact studies from environmental regulator Ibama.

Justice Fux has scheduled a hearing on November 20 to discuss the matter further. Besides prosecutors and other federal officials, representatives from ANA, Ibama and the state of São Paulo will attend.

As of Thursday, the Cantareira water supply system was operating at 11.7% of its capacity.