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Brazilian Academy of Sciences

Scientists Speak About the Water Crisis

dANIEL BUENOOn December 12, 2014, the Brazilian Academy of Science (ABC) published its Carta de São Paulo (São Paulo Letter), a document that presents analyses and makes recommendations for dealing with the water crisis in Southeastern Brazil. Produced under the coordination of researcher José Galizia Tundisi from the International Institute of Ecology (IIE), the document asks for immediate changes in the way water resources are administered. “Modernizing and streamlining the management systems is absolutely necessary,” the scientists state in the letter. According to experts, there is a real threat to water security in the Southeast, especially in Metropolitan São Paulo and the interior regions of the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. The letter was released against the backdrop of the “extremely strong” indications of climate change—likely to provoke weather events that are increasingly extreme—and the fact that Brazil’s water producing systems do not have the capacity to ensure the rates of flow necessary to meet demand. The scientists recommend a drastic reduction in water consumption for 2015, and immediate investments in long-term measures and basic sanitation and sewage treatment projects. They also advocate actions to publicize and raise public awareness of the emergency measures, long-term plans, and seriousness of the crisis. The full text of the letter is available on the ABC website (