SAO PAULO, Feb 7 — Brazil is facing one of the worst droughts in its history with reservoirs running dry and power outages in many cities. Inadequate water management, increased urbanisation, and deforestation in the Amazon are all factors behind the severe drought.
Sao Paulo, the most populous city in South America, is the city worst hit by the drought. Local governments are partially to blame as officials have let pipes go without upgrades for too long. According to a recent government report, 37 per cent of the city’s tap water is lost due to leaky pipes. Rising population density and increased water consumption also placed extra pressure on already inadequate infrastructure.
Scientists have also pointed to other causes for the drought. Population growth and increased urbanization causes an urban heat effect, which pushes out low-level rain clouds from cities. Also, deforestation in the Amazon reduces cloud production as deforestation impacts the forest’s ability to act as a “biopump” and gather moisture in the air.
While Brazilian authorities hoped that the current rainy season would provide some relief to the current drought, rainfall levels continue to be disappointingly small. Some cities have already enforced water rations and power cuts, and Brazilian authorities are prepared to implement more emergency measures later this year. — Reuters