- 2017, 21 f
By Karen Garcia
Water has always been a valuable resource, but its relative abundance in Brazil means that society does not always value it. Recent supply crises in Brazil and world are driving society to understand that water management has become a key global priority. It is estimated that water abstraction will increases globally by 50% by 2050 (UN, 2014).
A contemporary way of addressing the issue is the recognition of the water – food – energy nexus. Increased population and per capita consumption will require increased food production and much more water resources, since agriculture is highly water intensive
In Brazil, there is an even greater pressure due the importance of agriculture for our economy and for all countries that import our food. Moreover, Brazil is extremely water dependent for energy generation, through a large hydroelectric power plants portfolio. Around 70% of country electric matrix is hydraulic, directly competing with others water demands. (EPE, 2014).
Thus, the lack of water may also lead to electric shortages. To distribute the resource properly and preserve the river basins already under pressure, a good management program that considers the public interest as well as the stakeholders is a priority. This nexus also suffers impacts global climate change.
The climate change related problems can be identified in reason of a different distribution of extreme events occurrence, such as droughts, floods, winds, fires and hurricanes around the world. In Brazil, a change in the country interior rainfall pattern has already been predicted yet for the coming decades (FBDS, 2009).
In addition, has been registered impacts directly on agriculture productivity, with a decreasing of 2% for 1% on the annual productivity gains in the last two decades (IPCC, 2014), species dislocation and extinction and damages on natural and built infrastructure.
According to the United Nations, the demand growth for water resources by the industry may increase in 400% by 2050 (ONU, 2014). Examples of recent years in Brazil demonstrate that financial damage to society can be significant if there is no investment on a risk mitigation plan.
The last’s water crises that Brazil faced in Southeast (2014) and Northeast (2012-2016) regions are an incentive for investments in alternatives, given the increasing uncertainty on scarcity costs and risks.
In 2016, SITAWI Finance for Good produced the study “Leveraging a Water Efficient Economy: Opportunities for Companies and Financial Institutions”. The report, commissioned by CEBDS (acronym in Portuguese for Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development) and GIZ*, aims to highlight and analyze business opportunities for financial institutions, from the financing of a transition to a more water usage efficiency economy in Brazil.
The research is divided into two main axes, bringing water conservation technologies and opportunities for financial institutions. In addition, it outlines the use of water in Brazil, describing the sectors and their use of water in the country.
The material is available for download in the button below:
*German government cooperation agency offering sustainable solutions to economic, social and political change processes