Tag Archive | Sao Paulo

Severe drought prompts army to be ready for MASS UPRISINGS in Brazil

Breaking News

“The army is in Sabesp doing an exercise to prepare for an invasion from the people”
Here’s a scenario that seems plausible enough: The Brazilian megacity of São Paulo, currently dealing with Brazil’s largest water crisis in 40 years, continues to experience severe drought over the next several months.
The crisis deepens, and soon, some residents lose access to water altogether. The next step: a riot or crowd-driven attack on Sabesp, the local water utility.
It’s the kind of desperate measure that seems more like a distant post-apocalyptic situation for other drought-ridden places like California, but as one São Paulo water activist recently discovered, the Brazilian army is actually preparing for this possibility.
“I looked at the emergency plan from the government. They don’t know how we’ll save water,” explains Martha Lu, a water activist, in an interview with Tech Insider. “The
army is in Sabesp doing an exercise to prepare for an invasion from the people.”
This past May, Lu teamed up with a journalist from Spanish newspaper El País to visit Sabesp while the army was involved in one of its riot simulations.
Sabesp told Lu and journalist Maria Martin that the army has been doing similar exercises for 15 years, but former employees of the water utility contradicted that, saying that they had never seen anything like it.
On the day that Lu visited Sabesp, approximately 70 army members were scoping out the utility’s readiness for an uprising. One official said that 30 men with machine guns were stationed in the lunchroom.
São Paulo has also reportedly sent public officials to the US to take lessons from SWAT leaders on how to deal with the water crisis.
Already, people in the city are experiencing water cuts that last from hours to days at a time. Prior to the drought, the city’s water supply provided 8,700 gallons of water each second. That’s now down to 3,563 gallons per second. As a World Bank official told NBC News, “São Paulo’s current drought emergency is both unprecedented and unpredicted.”
The rest of the world should take note: the way that São Paulo residents and officials react if the drought continues will be a preview of how things will go elsewhere — in California (and other parts of the U.S.), China, India, France, and every other place where that the water table is dropping — without drastic water conservation measures.
Courtesy of businessinsider.com.au

Historic crisis as crippling drought hits Brazil

Drought Alert

South America’s largest city is having its worst drought in a century. The city’s reservoir system is at historic low levels and may be completely dry by August.
A drought seems like a strange concept in a country that still appears relatively lush and which is home to 12 percent of the world’s freshwater.
“It doesn’t look dry here like in California,” says Tommaso Protti, an Italian photographer who has lived in São Paulo for the past year.
The causes of the drought include large-scale weather patterns, deforestation (which has changed cloud formation), a soaring urban population, insufficient and leaky infrastructure, pollution of local streams, and lack of planning.
“Many people think the government hasn’t taken enough measures to avoid the crisis,” says Protti. “There have been protests in the streets.”
While some areas of the city still have reasonably good water delivery, several peripheral areas are nearly cut off. The crisis hit home for Protti late last year, when his downtown apartment building lost water for a week.
Some residents are buying water from tanker trucks while others are going without doing laundry or washing dishes.
Since Brazil gets about 80 percent of its electricity from hydropower, lower water levels may also threaten the country’s energy sector.
“I really wanted to focus on the variety of factors involved in the drought,” Protti says of his photographs.
Picture of dry banks of the Jaguari-Jacareí reservoir
Parched: The Jaguari-Jacareí Reservoir 75 miles (120 kilometers) north of the city is drying out from drought and overuse. Critics say the government should have expanded capacity and reduced water waste – Photo By Tommaso Protti
Picture of water pipes of Sabesp, the São Paulo state water company
Too Many Straws: Water pipes suck the last drops out of the Jaguari-Jacareí Reservoir north of São Paulo – Photo By Tommaso Protti
Picture of a woman with a pail for water
Long Slog: A woman in São Paulo collects water from the only working tap in her downtown apartment building, in the basement. The building’s 300 residents have had intermittent water service since September 2014 – Photo By Tommaso Protti
Courtesy of nationalgeographic.com

Worst drought in 84 years and water rationing to 200 million in Brazil

National Emergency Alert

Brazil is struggling to supply enough water to its 200 million people, amid the worst drought in 84 years.
São Paulo’s 20 million citizens face having their tap water cut off five days a week, in a bid to conserve dwindling resources. Some 17% of Brazilian towns have declared a state of emergency.
In the centre and southeast of the country, electricity supplies are threatened as water levels drop to 18% in the reservoirs for hydropower generation.
“We have never seen such sensitive and worrying situation as this,” admitted the minister of environment, Izabella Teixeira.
Rain scarcity, deforestation of the watersheds around streams and rivers, high consumption in the big urban centers and waste in the water supply system are some of the reasons for the crisis.
It has brought into sharp focus the political response to extreme weather patterns, which are only expected to get more volatile with climate change.
“Public authorities need to be absolutely transparent in the information on the extent of the problem. We are living in a period of scarcity and there’s even a high probability of having a much more prolonged crisis”, said José Galizia Tundisi, president of the International Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IIEGA)
Low rainfall had played a big role, he argued, but was not primarily responsible for the collapse in water supplies.
In São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, governor Geraldo Alckmin is on the verge of announcing drastic measures to eke out the dwindling water reserves. The plan is to provide running water only two days a week.
This comes as a shock to the general public, who complain they were not informed about the risks during last October’s election.
Tundisi said: “There were few discussions. It is not only about drinking water, it is the whole set of elements regarding the water pollution, air pollution, soil deforestation, energy generation and sanitation. No one mentioned about those items.”
The scientific community is seeking to work with public authorities to develop emergency action plans and future solutions to adapt to changing rainfall patterns.
Last February, rectors of six universities in São Paulo announced the creation of a task force to help society to overcome the water crisis. This week in Rio de Janeiro, a group of renowned scientists from the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC) launched a public report with ten recommendations.
This document was provided to public authorities in November 2014, but scientists complain they have not been contacted yet to discuss further action.
The situation could escalate and trigger social unrest, Tundisi warned. “It has outlined a complex reality reaching different social sectors. Added to climatological problems, the water crisis may be connected to economic damages, health, food security and natural resources. I am very much convinced there is a high danger of an upheaval if the government does not act now.”
Energy blackout
Water shortage also raises the risk of power blackouts. Normally, some 80% of Brazil’s electricity comes from hydropower plants. With reservoirs drying up, it is turning to generation from fossil fuels – a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.
“This whole year we shall depend fully on thermal electricity. The chance of a deep energy crisis this year is very high,” said Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum of Climate Change and member of ABC. He recommended an energy-saving policy to avoid blackouts.
“The government trusted the rainfall intensity would come to regularise the system. But there is no way the reservoirs can get back to their normal levels before the end of the rainfall period in April,” Rosa added.
All the projections suggest 2015 is a year Brazilians will have to get more efficient at using water, said José Marengo, researcher at the National Center for Monitoring and Alerts Natural Disasters (Cemaden).
Marengo is a contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which last year published a comprehensive review of the science of climate change impacts.
Climate scientists are not yet convinced this extreme drought in Brazil is directly linked to global warming. Marengo said it will take at least five years to understand the weather trend.
“IPCC works with scenarios in which drought as the one we are facing will be more frequent, with high levels of uncertainty,” said Marengo. “Only with good water management and public policies, the impacts could be dampened in the future.”
Courtesy of RTCC

Thousands (8 TONS) of fish wash up dead along beaches in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Fish Kill Alert

Thousands of dead fish are taking the Long Island beaches, tourist town on the southern coast of São Paulo. The carnage occurring since last week, spans 18 kilometers of sand.

The city has collected eight tons of fish only on the beaches of the central region, as informed the press office. The stench bothers tourists seeking the quiet beaches.

The dead fish are examples of corvina, hake, swordfish and even shark pups. The presence of dogs and vultures attracted by the carnage bother residents.

Environmentalists relate the death of the fish to the heavy traffic of fishing boats near the coast. In trawling for catching shrimp, boats rule the fish of little commercial interest that are caught in the net.

Many specimens die and end up being taken to the beach by the tide. The Environmental Police said it would intensify fiscalizaão the fishing activity in the region.

Courtesy of Diario De Pernambuco

Severe Drought hits Brazil very hard

Drought Alert

Brazil faces its worst drought in 80 years amid a heatwave that has forced the authorities to take measures in several states of the South American nation.
According to the National Center for Monitoring and Disaster Alert (Cemaden) if the rains in the regional Cantareira system, which supplies 8.8 million people in Sao Paulo, remain 50 percent below average, this source could dry in four months, released today the newspaper Jornal do Brasil.
Speaking to this newspaper, specialist Adriana Cuartas said that five scenarios that take into account the possible impact of the rain were elaborated, and the results were compared with the time series of rainfall since 2004.
In statements to this Brazilian newspaper, Cuartas said it rained only 60.9 milimeters from the beginning of the month, equivalent to 22.5 percent of the historical average for January.
“We are monitoring, evaluating and seeing what happens to renew the projections,” she said .
Eight states and the federal district were affected by blackouts yesterday after the National Electric System Operator asked some suppliers to cut supply to prevent further crises because of the heatwave and a qualified unprecedented drought.
Among the most affected areas there were Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, Santa Catarina, Espíritu Santo and Goias, where there was a high consumption of air conditioning use.
In Sao Paulo, for example, the temperature may attain the 36.5 Celsius degrees.
Courtesy of Prensa Latina

Lightning Strike Kills Four On Brazil Beach


A pregnant woman and her husband are among four members of the same family killed as violent storms hit the Sao Paulo region
At least four people have been killed by a lightning strike on a beach on the coast of Brazil.
Another four people were injured when a violent storm suddenly hit Praia Grande, near the port city of Santos, where the lightning strike happened on Monday.
Local media reported that among the dead was a pregnant woman and her husband, aunt and uncle.
Santos police did not provide an update on the condition of those injured.
The owner of a kiosk near the scene told Brazil’s Globo news network: “There was a noise like an explosion and I saw the lightning come down before a flash.
“There were more than 20 people in the area where it happened, either coming in from the sea or on the beach where the lightning hit.
“People were crying, panicking, then firefighters arrived with stretchers and equipment.”
Violent storms have ravaged southeast Brazil in recent days, with Sao Paulo bearing the brunt of the bad weather.
In the early hours of Monday, a storm downed scores of trees across the area with a population of almost 20 million, causing public transport chaos after more than 100 traffic lights malfunctioned.
Courtesy of Sky News

Freak hail storm strikes World Cup 2014 host city Sao Paulo, Brazil

Hail Formation Alert

A hail storm covers streets in ice in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo which will host the opening match of the football World Cup in less than a month

A storm has brought marble-sized hail to the city of Sao Paulo, leaving some streets coated in white ice in Brazil’s largest city, which will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup on June 12.

The Centre for Emergency Management said Sunday’s storm broke a dry spell that caused historically low levels at the main dams that supply water to Sao Paulo.

Many Sao Paulo residents struggled to keep their balance on the ice and the storm stranded cars in some neighbourhoods.

Sunday’s game between Corinthians and Figueirense at the Itaquerao Stadium, which will host the first match of the World Cup, was also affected by the rain and hail storms.


Emergency – Worst Drought In Decades Strikes 140 Cities In Brazil

Three-year-old coffee trees are irrigated in a farm in Santo Antonio do Jardim (Reuters / Paulo Whitaker)

Over 140 Brazilian cities have been pushed to ration water during the worst drought on record, according to a survey conducted by the country’s leading newspaper. Some neighborhoods only receive water once every three days.

Water is being rationed to nearly 6 million people living in a total of 142 cities across 11 states in Brazil, the world’s leading exporter of soybeans, coffee, orange juice, sugar and beef. Water supply companies told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that the country’s reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they have been in 20 years. A record heat wave could raise energy prices and damage crops.

Some neighborhoods in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state (which accounts for one-quarter of Brazil’s population and one-third of its GDP), only receive water once every three days, for a total of 13 hours.

Brazilian coffee producer Marcio Diogo adjusts an irrigation system in his farm in Santo Antonio do Jardim (Reuters / Paulo Whitaker)

Brazil’s water utility company Sabesp said on its website that the Cantareira water system (the largest of the six that provide water to nearly half of the 20 million people living in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo) is at less than 19 percent of its capacity of 1 trillion liters. The company described the situation at Cantareira as “critical”: the amount of rain registered in the month to January was the lowest in 84 years. Sabesp said the other five water supply systems in Sao Paulo’s metropolitan area were normal for this time of year, however.

The PCJ Consorcio water association said the area would have to see 17 millimeters of rain a day for two months until Cantareira’s water level recovers to 50 percent of its capacity.

Water markers indicating where water level used to be are seen at Jaguary dam, as the dam dries up over a long drought period in the state of Sao Paulo, in Braganca Paulista, 100km (62 miles) from Sao Paulo (Reuters / Nacho Doce)

Average reservoir levels in the southeast and central-west regions, which account for up to three-thirds of Brazil’s hydroelectric power generation, fell to 41 percent in late January.

January was the hottest month on record in parts of the country, including in Sao Paulo. The heat, plus a severe drought, has raised concerns over growing water shortages and crop damage. According to Brazil’s national meteorological institute INMET, Sao Paulo’s average maximum daily temperature so far this year was 31.9 degrees Celsius (89.4 degrees Fahrenheit), a degree hotter than the previous January record and surpassing February 1984 as the city’s hottest month ever.

According to the state meteorological agency in Ceara state, the northeast of the country is also experiencing its worst drought in at least 50 years. Hundreds of thousands of cattle have died from heat exhaustion, and farmers are getting desperate. “I have never seen a drought like this,” Ulisses de Sousa Ferraz, an 85-year-old farmer in Pernambuco state, told Reuters, adding that he has lost 50 cows. “Everything has dried up.”

The shadow of a hand is seen on the cracked ground of Jaguary dam during a long drought period that hit the state of Sao Paulo in Braganca Paulista, 100 km from Sao Paulo (Reuters / Nacho Doce)

It’s believed that yields from the 2014-15 coffee crop, which will be collected in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo starting in May, were also probably hurt by dry weather in January, according to the PROCAFE Foundation. A shortage of rain could also diminish yields on the current orange crop.

It’s hoped that summer rains could finally return by March to refill reservoirs and prevent serious economic losses.


Thousands Of Bees Die Off ‘Due To Pesticides’ In Pontalinda, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Apicultor mostra colmeia vazia por causa da morte de abelhas (Foto: Reprodução/TV TEM)
Irregular use of pesticides may be responsible for the death of thousands of bees in Pontefract (SP), one of the cities that produce more honey in the northwest region. A creator saw the production of the apiary fall about 70% after planes began spraying insecticide on a sugarcane plantation which is close to his property.

In the apiary from producer Peter Olhier, thousands of bees used in the production of honey are dead on the floor. The situation left the beekeeper concerned that started facing the problem last year, but now the losses increased.

Of the 60 existing hives only 35 were left. The total production of the apiaries was a ton of honey per year, on average. For 2014 it expects no more than 300 pounds. Peter did not know what to do as a future crop hives may not exist anymore.

The beekeeper neighbor is a property of sugarcane where airplanes spraying pesticides. He believes that the products were applied to the crop that caused the death of bees. “I came to visit the apiary and found this pile of dead bee. I went to the farm and told me that three days before tickets went poison with the neighboring plantations. And the poison goes with the plane takes all insects below. I am now beekeeper for 25 years and I have to stop now because it causes poison? This is wrong, “says beekeeper.

Police are investigating the case, but awaits analysis of expertise in the sugarcane plantation and apiary. Alessandro Ferreira, agronomist House Agriculture Pontefract, explains that depending on how they are applied, the products can exterminate bees and other insects that are not harmful to crops. “Applying Defensive always has a target, and aerial application is for a given area, now the winds can carry this poison to a radius of up to a mile away and bring problems to other crops such as orange or mortality of insects that do not were planned, “says agronomist.