Brazil faces worst drought in 100 years

RESTRICTIONS: NONE
For story suggestions please contact [email protected]

Brazil is facing one of the worst droughts in its history with reservoirs running dry and power outages in many cities. Inadequate water management, increased urbanization, and deforestation in the Amazon are all factors behind the severe drought.

Sao Paulo, the most populous city in South America, is the city worst hit by the drought. Local governments are partially to blame as officials have let pipes go without upgrades for too long. According to a recent government report, 37 percent of the city’s tap water is lost due to leaky pipes. Rising population density and increased water consumption also placed extra pressure on already inadequate infrastructure.

Scientists have also pointed to other causes for the drought. Population growth and increased urbanization causes an urban heat effect, which pushes out low-level rain clouds from cities. Also, deforestation in the Amazon reduces cloud production as deforestation impacts the forest’s ability to act as a “biopump” and gather moisture in the air.

While Brazilian authorities hoped that the current rainy season would provide some relief to the current drought, rainfall levels continue to be disappointingly small. Some cities have already enforced water rations and power cuts, and Brazilian authorities are prepared to implement more emergency measures later this year.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Sao Paulo’s reservoirs losing water and city experiences power outage
2. Faulty pipes underground
3. Sao Paulo expanding rapidly and population rising
4. Urban heat effect keeps clouds away
5. Clouds formed from evaporation in the Amazon, deforestation in the Amazon causes less cloud production

VOICEOVER (in English):

“One of the worst droughts in Brazil’s history continues to ravage the country.”

“The drought has wreaked havoc on the country’s agricultural industry, as well as caused water shortages and blackouts in a number of Brazilian cities.”

“Brazil’s drought has caused the country’s largest reservoirs to decline to critically low levels, shutting down hydropower stations and causing power outages.”

“One reason for the drought is that local governments have allowed water pipes to go without upgrades for too long.”

“Growing urbanization in cities like Sao Paulo has also increased unsustainable water consumption.”

“Increased urbanization also causes an urban heat effect that reduces low-level rain clouds near cities.”

“The Amazon rainforest also plays a role in creating clouds as moisture from rainforests rises and collects. Rainforests also channel moisture inland.”

“As deforestation in the Amazon continues to occur, less moisture is able to collect.”

“While Brazilian authorities hoped that the current rainy season would alleviate the country’s drought, this year’s rainfall has remained low.”

SOURCES: The Guardian, Center for International Forestry Research, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, World Resources Institute

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/23/brazil-worst-drought-history

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/oct/31/amazon-rainforest-deforestation-weather-droughts-report

http://blog.cifor.org/26559/the-science-is-clear-forest-loss-behind-brazils-drought#.VNRZ552Ud8E

http://www.wsj.com/articles/deforestation-sparks-brazilian-debate-1417717648

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2015/01/brazil-facing-worst-drought-decades-150124100555249.html

http://www.wri.org/blog/2014/11/3-maps-help-explain-s%C3%A3o-paulo-brazil%E2%80%99s-water-crisis