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Water quality | International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'

If those who suffer this burdensome situation cannot shoulder the mounting costs, they will have to devote greater amounts of time to searching for water, thus reducing productivity in the activities that secure their livelihoods. Hence the affected properties are devalued. These are examples of the chain of effects that water shortages generate on the economic level. The costs incurred, whether in searching for water farther afield or through loss of productivity and market value of property are alternative ways of estimating the economic value of water.

Moreover, those same fundamentals state that "in situations of shortage, human and animal consumption is to be the priority use of water resources" item III and "that water resource management must always ensure the multiple uses of water" item. In the former, a stipulation is made for situations of scarcity, privileging use for basic human and animal needs; in the latter, the law declares that the multiple uses of water are in the interests of society, obviously when no such shortages exist.

Finally, still in its introduction, the law recognizes as a political goal "the rational and integrated use of hydric resources, including for waterway transport, with a view to sustainable development" art. These issues have served as a preamble to a relevant affirmation: water is a Brazilian environmental asset, of strategic interest, and it provides a competitive edge on the world stage. If this resource is used rationally with a view to sustainable development, that is, with economic efficiency, social equality, and environmental sustainability in the long-term, it could, in the future, offer an ever-greater competitive edge that could see the country take its place among the nations with the highest human development index ratings in the world.

Recognizing this, the fundamentals of the law also contain the following constitutional provision: "water is an asset in the public domain", it belongs to the Union and to the states of the federation, such that issues relating to rational allocation can be defined with greater state control. All of this begs the question: how is the country preparing itself to use water rationally with a view toward sustainable development? Which sectors of water usage are revealing themselves to be the most dynamic and most worthy of attention from public water resource administrators?

In other words: which are the water resource scenarios that should be setting the agenda of decisions on water resource management? These are questions the present text aims to answer. Initially, we shall present and analyze the prospective water resource scenarios on which the directives, targets and programs of the National Water Resource Plan NWRP were based.

In the light of the results presented, we will then analyze the future prospects of the four water usage sectors with the strongest dynamics and greatest possibilities of conflict, namely: irrigated agriculture, energy production, navigation and basic sanitation.

Water scarcity

One underlying question that cannot be ignored is that of climate change and how it may be affecting the availability and uses of water. Some conclusions and recommendations will be drawn from this analysis, the goal of which will be to make forecasts and prepare public, private and third sector agents for the task of fostering the rational use of water with a view toward sustainable development, or, in economics-speak, toward the optimal allocation of a scarce resource.

These were used to draw up water resource scenarios for Box3 , with the articulations summarized in Figure 1 by six flow sequences that take into consideration the behavior of five critical uncertainties the reader can follow these sequences by using the colors and numbers of the arrows that connect the alternatives considered for each critical uncertainty :. The economic activities of industry, agriculture and cattle ranching;.

Maintenance and expansion of the treated water and sewage network;. Institutional implementation of a water resource management apparatus;. Public investment in the protection of the environment and water resources. Of the six flow sequences, only four sequences 1, 2, 4 and 6 were considered plausible, given the support they would receive from social agents, while two were found to converge as a single scenario.

In the prospective visions, four water uses arise that have strong dynamics and potential to cause conflict, whether through their profligate use of water or through their interference in the hydrological and hydraulic regime:.


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Irrigated agriculture, the biggest water user in every region of the country;. The generation of electrical energy, which is predominantly water-based in Brazil, and which, despite being a non-consumptive use, works profound alterations in the hydrological and hydraulic regimes of the nation's water bodies;. Navigation, another non-consumptive use of water, but one which demands hydrological and hydraulic regimes that can curtail more basic uses;. Environmental sanitation, or, more specifically, the assimilation of sewage discharge by water bodies and whose nullification depends on the quality of the water and its ability to meet demands, especially those related to human and animal food security.

These water uses will be analyzed prospectively with regard to their projections based on the evaluation of the current conjuncture and the elements that shape the possible futures for hydric resources.

Water Resources & Irrigation Engineering Realistic Interview, or Viva Voce

This use exerts the strongest quantitative pressure on water availability throughout all the regions of Brazil. The projections made here for each scenario on the National Water Resource Plan are shown in Box 4. It is important to underscore that of the roughly 3.


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  • This categorization is important in order to provide a snapshot of the situation: heavy water use in the South, with some potential for increased efficiency without altering the technology; heavy water use in the semi-arid, with potential for heightened efficiency with technological change; and a heterogeneous situation in the rest of the country, with varying degrees of potential for increased efficiency. Another relevant point to note is that the majority of irrigated land is privately owned. Public tracts account for a mere thousand hectares, mostly located in the semi-arid.

    This is clear indication that an outlook for irrigation should be sought among the highly disperse private sector, although the public sector may induce the expansion of irrigated lands, thus assuming a more relevant role, as has historically been the case.


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    • As for direct public participation, largely restricted to the semi-arid, Box 5 shows that roughly a million hectares are divested landholdings and nearly 0. One critical uncertainty concerns the introduction of irrigation to sugar cane growing for ethanol production.

      The producer Valley informs that there are three modalities of irrigation, each with its own characteristics and costs, as presented in Box 6. There has been considerable growth in sugar cane plantations. Netafim , a company that specializes in irrigation projects and equipment, maintains that drip irrigation presents significant results in these terms.

      Irrigating can, therefore, be an interesting agricultural option for the farmer, especially in regions where there is pressure for food-producing land, as a way of increasing production in the area. The sector responsible for this use is the most organized in the country. Hence it was possible to obtain figures from the Ten-yearly Electrical Energy Expansion Plan PDEEE , which enables us to assess previously presented data in our projections for installed hydroelectrical energy capacity under the different scenarios, as shown in Box 7.

      W3190: Management and Policy Challenges in a Water-Scarce World

      Amazonia in particular presents an installed capacity for that is 10, MW higher than that forecasted under the "Water for All" scenario. Ambio, 24 I ; Asswad, R. Ambio, 24 6 : Baetz, B. Bah, O. Bard, W.

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      In Pierre, W. Biswas, A. In Widstrand, C. Water Development, Supply and Management, 7. Pergamon Press. Born P, Input-out analysis: input of energy, and work to produce goods Journal of Policy Modeling 18 2 — Briscoe, J. Brokensha, D. Lanham: University Press of America. Bulmer-Thomas V. Oxford University Press, New York. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. Caldwell, L. Environmental Conservation, 21 3 : Chambers, R. Intermediate Technology Publications, London. R Costanza. Columbia University Press, New York. Criddle, W.

      US Dept. Cumberland J. Dabi D. Submitted to Economic Development and Cultural Change. Brussels, May , Journal of Environmental Management and Planning.