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Dam(n) | Someone Call Saint Paul

"Reduce water usage"

“Reduce water usage”

Nassif writes:

Today, 27 August, is the anniversary of a low point in the annals of water and waste management in São Paulo.  For the first time since it began to function as a system of five integrated dams – Paraitinga, Ponte Nova, Biritiba-Mirim, Jundiaí e Taiaçupeba – the Upper Tietê River system  was  at 16,4% of full capacity, a benchmark achieved on December 6, 2003. Between then and now we have suffered the worst water shortage in the history of São Paulo. At the time, it seems, the Paraitinga and Biritiba-Mirim were public works in the process of finalization, and were to function as reserve capacity in the process of priming the system.

In the context of that crisis, these two dam were perceived as an important solution to avoiding having a significant portion of the population — nearly 5 million inhabitants — run once again the risk of full  exhaustion. At the time, Governor Geraldo Alckmin himself also prayed for rain, which increased far above average in the early months of 2004 and relieved this system and the Cantareira system as well. At the end of this year, the Upper Tietê fell back to some 25% of its capacity, sending a yellow signal to the PSDB administration. Once again, San Pedro was generous and provided a rainy season considered to be exceptional.


Saint Peter is the patron saint of rain and is said to favor one or the the other political party — if only because the blessed rainy season is also the season of human degradation and Schadenfreude in its coverage of impoverished flood survivors.

This time, however, the water shortage seems more serious – and this it not just because we have a single media outlet that has assigned the problem to the top headline, which will make it difficult to overcome. This, of course, because we are in late August now. The negative records we cited above each occurred in December — which meant that at time, when the rains were late in coming, aggravating the dramatic aspect of the problems. In our present case, the possibility of seeing this phenomenon repeat itself is considerable, based on the estimates of climatologists previously published in this space.

It will be difficult to keep faith with Saint Peter when the gizmo shown above — a thingamajig analogous to the boot the cops put on a car with too many tickets — achieves wide publicity.

Restricted-use water taps prevent the consumption of water by unauthorized persons in densely populated locations such as clubs, parks and schools, and aid in reminding users to turn the faucet all the way off. These tools control the consumption of water, but only when necessary.

It sounds like a measure planned and partially executed , leaving behind the impression that the state government does not really care what consumers think. And this in an election year.

Restricting use is done in one of two ways: : with the installation of padlocks that block the faucet from being turned, or else with a key similar to the “bow tie” key of an ordinary faucet.

The padlock goes  for  R$ 14.90 a R$ 26.90. In the case of the mobile key, prices range from R$ 50.90 aR$  118.90, Globo says.

A trickle of water from a faucet results in a wast of 442 liters a day, according to Sabsesp [the state-owned water and sewage company.] Left completely open, a garden hose consumers 40 liters a minute;

Source: Como economizar água | da Rede Globo.

Massive infrastructure problems and the fortunes of the center-right: It takes you pack to 2002, when Brazil was slammed by cascading electricity outages just as Prof. Cardoso was running (successfully) for president.