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THE NATURALIZATION OF UNEQUAL WATER ACCESS IN CAMPINA GRANDE, NORTHEAST BRAZIL

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
C. Stakeholder participation
Author(s): Maria Helena Del Grande
Lemuel Guerra Sobrinho
Carlos de Oliveira Galvao
LIvia Izabel Bezerra de Miranda

Maria Helena Del Grande
IFBA
mhdgrande@gmail.com
Lemuel Guerra Sobrinho
UFCG
lenksguerra@yahoo.com
Carlos de Oliveira Galvao
UFCG
carlos.o.galvao@gmail.com
LIvia Izabel Bezerra de Miranda
UFCG
liviaibmiranda@gmail.com


Keyword(s): water supply, water rationing (Campina Grande), drought, users’ perception, naturalization
Article: Poster:

Abstract

This work presents some results of a research carried out on the users’ perceptions on the impacts of the water rationing in their household routines, in Campina Grande, Northeast Brazil. Campina Grande is a city of about 400 000 inhabitants, a prominent economic and educational hub, located in the Brazilian semi-arid region with high natural climatic and hydrological variability, a place where since 2012 goes through a drought cycle. Its current water supply system and in other 17 towns depends on the Epitácio Pessoa Reservoir, which is also known as Açude Boqueirão (Boqueirão Dam) which now faces the most critical situation of its history with only 7% of its capacity (Sept 2016). In early December 2014, the water rationing in Campina Grande and in the other urban centers supplied by Açude Boqueirão started and continues until now. Data were collected in monthly visits carried out from October 2014 to June 2016 to a non-random sample of households stratified by household income and hydraulic criteria - the location of the households in relation to the reservoirs of the water supply system of Campina Grande. Semi-structured interviews about the water supply conditions in the dwellers’ homes and their perceptions about the rationing impact on their water-use-related household routines were conducted during the visits besides the water consumption monitoring. The theoretical perspective of the Political Ecology of Water was used in order to analyse data we collected. The field research revealed the influence of the permanent exposure to restrictive water access experienced by the low-income strata on the naturalization of the unequal water access experienced by the low income strata of the population: shaped by living with water scarcity, they tend to naturalize the water rationing impacts. Their water consumption and use routines are characterized by restriction, and they live in a permanent state of resource saving. This finding explains the reported perception that "nothing changed" due to the water rationing, which was found on the low-income users' speech. The field research also suggests that this naturalization may influence on the acceptance / resignation about the structural water injustice the population have faced for a long time without claiming for their rights.

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