Brazil, Increasingly Drier: Loses 15% Of Its Fresh Water In 30 Years

Brazil, one of the largest water reserves on the planet, is drying up: the areas covered with fresh water in the country fell between 1991 and 2020 by 15.7%, according to official data revealed in recent hours by the multidisciplinary platform MapBiomas.

The study was released at a time of the worst water crisis in the last 91 years, which causes economic and environmental disasters, in addition to increasing the price of energy for the population, who fear rationing.

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The MapBiomas platform, an entity that brings together specialists from Brazilian universities and non-governmental organizations, revealed on Monday the size of the depletion of hydrographic reserves. The situation is of great regional impact, because Argentina shares with Brazil the ParanĂĄ Basin, which is in a serious drought crisis, and Brazil shares the Amazon River Basin with seven countries.

The reduction of freshwater in Brazil from 1991 to 2020 fell by 15.7%, according to this study, which is based on satellite data started in 1985.

The most critical situation is in the Pantanal region, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, on the border with Paraguay. Mato Grosso do Sul lost 57% of its fresh water by becoming a pole of soy production since the end of the 20th century, something similar to the second state in the ranking of drought, Mato Grosso, the locomotive of Brazil’s agribusiness.

“We are losing the surface of the water and that is not little. The periods of flooding are no longer enough to compensate for the drought,” explained MapBiomas general coordinator, forestry engineer Tasso Azevedo. Brazil has 12% of the planet’s fresh water reserve and 53% of South American fresh water.

According to Azevedo, the reasons are to be found in climate change, with more droughts in general with an increase in temperature and a reduction in rainy seasons. Another argument is the Amazon deforestation, for cattle ranching, illegal extraction of wood and illegal mining, which reduced the so-called “flying rivers” that carry moisture to the entire planet.

The San Francisco River, which rises in Minas Gerais and bathes the semi-arid northeast, reduced its water capacity by 10%, mainly due to artificial irrigation pushed by the great engine of agribusiness in the region, the Matopiba, as it is known. soy production pole located between the states of Maranhao, Tocantins, Piaui and Bahia.

Azevedo revealed that the RĂ­o Negro, in the Amazon region, lost 22% of its surface between 1999 and 2000 due to deforestation as landowners have diverted the water course to make reservoirs on farms.

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