From drought to water security: Brazilian experiences and challenges

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Water security is a relevant concept for public well-being and sustainable development. The word ‘security’ often refers to the idea of predictability, control, and assurance. These are relevant concepts in our changing world. Change involves social and natural processes on a planetary scale that shape and transform local realities. In this framework, the concept of water security must be understood as dialectically related to the concept of risk. In the past few years, the concept of water security has been increasingly disseminated in Brazil, owing to severe droughts that have struck several of the country’s regions. Between 2013 and 2015, South-East Brazil experienced the worst drought ever recorded there. In North-East Brazil, a similar episode began in 2011 and still persists in 2017. The impacts of these events, which are associated with climate risk and societal adaptation, have placed the issue of water security on the Brazilian political agenda, but decision makers’ conceptual approach is still fragile. This chapter describes the Brazilian experience with water security that emerged from the water crises in two large metropolitan regions: São Paulo, in São Paulo State, the economic power of the wet South-East Region; and Fortaleza, in Ceará State, a semi-arid part of the North-East Region that has dealt with the impacts of drought throughout its history. The respective droughts are described, as well as the water security strategies that were adopted during each of those crises, the lessons learned, and challenges for the future.




de Assis Souza Filho, F., Formiga-Johnsson, R. M., de Carvalho Studart, T. M., & Abicalil, M. T. (2018). From drought to water security: Brazilian experiences and challenges. In Water Resources Development and Management (pp. 233–265). Springer.

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