Brazil: improving water security through forest preservation: projects in Brazil are bringing greater water security to urban areas.

Author:Vialli, Andrea

In 2014, an unprecedented water crisis caused historically low water levels in the largest reservoir of the Cantareira system, which supplies water to Sao Paulo, leaving thousands in the city without water. This event signalled a warning on how large Brazilian cities were managing their water resources.

"While there are regional differences, the metropolitan regions suffer from a combination of factors such as the degradation of water sources, the disorganised growth of cities," said Samuel Barreto, manager of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). In 2015 his NGO helped bring together both city councils and companies from the principal metropolitan regions to deal with water risks. Today the Coalizao Cidades Pela Agua involves six metropolitan regions and multinational companies, such as Coca Cola and Unilever. It has raised R$18m ($5.6m) to restore forests alongside the rivers that supply the Cantareira and Alto Tiete systems in Sao Paulo, and the Guandu system in Rio de Janeiro. "The plan is to extend the restoration action to a further six metropolitan regions, to bring water security to more than 60m people," says Barreto.

A second major challenge is significant losses occurring in the distribution network. It is...

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