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São Paulo’s drought

In November 2014 Reuters reported that São Paulo, a city of 20 million, had only two months of guaranteed water supply remaining and that afterwards, if sufficient rain did not fall there was no certainty over availability of the water for the city.[1] The drought continued in 2015, Le Monde quoted the minister for mines and energy who remained serene: “God is Brazilian. It will rain.”[2] In fact it appears that the reason for the crisis lies in the parts of the clearance of large areas of Amazonian rainforest to support the agrifood business, particularly cattle breeding and soya cultivation.[3] Anna Vigna quotes Antonio Nobre as saying, ““About 90% of the Atlantic forest has been cleared, all along the east coast of the country, but we don’t feel the consequences of that because until now Amazonia has provided enough humidity,” said Nobre. “But now 18% of Amazonia is deforested and 29% is damaged. We can’t pinpoint when exactly we’ll feel the effects of that disaster but we have been warning people for the past decade.”[4]

[1] Adriana Brasileiro – “Drought-hit Sao Paulo may ‘get water from mud’: TRFN”, Reuters, 29 November 2014,

[2] Anna Vigna – “When São Paulo’s water ran out”, April 2015, Le Monde Diplomatique, Paris

[3]  Antonio Donato Nobre, “O futuro climático da Amazônia: Relatório de avaliação científica”,Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais and Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, October 2014, cited by Anna Vigna.

[4] Anna Vigna – “When São Paulo’s water ran out”, April 2015, Le Monde Diplomatique, Paris

About Andrew Palmer (275 Articles)
Book by Andrew Palmer explores today's fundamental & systemic problems of the world. Proposes a framework for understanding the forces that are driving change.

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