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Water resources policy for the Brazilian semiarid region

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
4. Water policy and governance
Author(s): Maria Edelcides Gondim de Vasconcelos
Bruna Letícia Oliveira da Silva
Henrique de Castro Silva
Iran Oikawa Cordeiro
Rafael Aguiar de Miranda
Rômulo Henriqu
Maria Edelcides Gondim de Vasconcelos
IFPB Campus João Pessoa/Paraíba - Brazil
edelcides@uol.com.br
Bruna Letícia Oliveira da Silva
IFPB Campus João Pessoa/Paraíba - Brazil
Henrique de Castro Silva
IFPB Campus João Pessoa/Paraíba - Brazil
Iran Oikawa Cordeiro
IFPB Campus João Pessoa/Paraíba - Brazil
Rafael Aguiar de Miranda
IFPB Campus João Pessoa/Paraíba - Brazil
Rômulo Henrique Teixeira do Egito
IFPB Campus João Pessoa/Paraíba - Brazil


Keyword(s): water policy , Brazilian semiarid
Article: Poster:

Abstract

The semiarid areas deserve special mention among the regions subjected to water scarcity, because their uneven distribution of rainfall, the acute droughts and the high evapotranspiration. This research evaluates the public policy of water scarcity facing the Brazilian semiarid region. This area of 969,589.4 km² is characterized by shallow soils, intermittent rivers and scarce water resources underground. The average annual rainfall is about 750 mm, the evapotranspiration reaches 2.500mm by year. The main public policy developed for this area is the construction of dams. This storage practice began in the nineteenth century. Examples of large reservoirs are Orós (2.5 billion cubic meters - bcm), Coremas – Mãe D’Agua (1.4 bcm), Castanhão (6.7 bcm), the lakes of Sobradinho, (34.1 bcm), Itaparica, (11 bcm) and Xingó (3.8 bcm). The dams are used for power generation, human supply, industrial use, irrigation and fish farming. The high evapotranspiration is the most important limiting factor. Techniques, based on plastic films, were not efficient. Another problem is the water quality. The lack of renewal of the vertical stratifications leads to quality degradation. The negotiated allocation of water, adopted by the National Water Agency (ANA) aims to control the various uses. After an analysis, there were created criteria and rules among the different consumers. With the participation of public agencies, consumers and   representatives of the community are created local water committees, a maintenance and monitoring program of the water infrastructure. Water wells appear as a supply alternative. But the potential is limited by the presence of crystalline basement, flows below 2m³ / hour, low quality and predominance of salinity. As public policy the Freshwater Program (Programa Água Doce) installed desalination plants for rural communities. The maintenance costs and the waste production resulting from the high salt concentration are big challenges. Rain water harvesting programs are widely used in semiarid regions. In Brazil, the main program is the P1MC (Program 1 Million Cisterns). The system uses the roof of homes where rainwater is collected. It started in 2000 and until the month of August 2016 almost 600,000 cisterns were built. The biggest challenge is to ensure water quality through educational activities of health workers. Although considered an important tool for coping with drought, water reuse still is not presented as public policy. There exist only small pilot projects. Brazil has low coverage rates in the treatment of sewage which hinders the adoption of large-scale reuse. The policies adopted to face the drought in the Brazilian semiarid region are still timid in the face of opportunities and the resulting worsening prospects for global warming. Although present legislation of advanced water resources, with the principles of decentralization and participation of users, Brazil still needs to advance in monitoring and social control of public policies, in particular for water resources in semiarid region.

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