SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil’s biggest city is running out of water and options.
The worst drought to hit the Sao Paulo region in 84 years is forcing local authorities for the second time in a year to put water pumps below the gates of the main reservoir, where the level has dropped sharply, so water can flow to the city’s 9 million people.
Federal prosecutors are also demanding that state officials immediately present a plan for water rationing, warning that otherwise the reservoir could go dry.
The region got only a third of the usual rain during Brazil’s wet season from December to February.
“All we have left to hope is for rain. Without rainfall, we have no options,” said Jose Carlos Mierzwa, a University of Sao Paulo professor who focuses on sanitary engineering.
Despite the company’s public statements against rationing, Sao Paulo’s main newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo, has reported that more than 2 million people in the state of 44 million already say that their water is often cut for a few hours or days at a time. Some places have their own water utility, but 27 million people rely on the state-run company.
“It is not raining and because the reservoir level is so low we have one day with water and one day without,” said Cabral.