Aerial view of the city of São Paulo. Photo: AHLN / Flickr

By Roberto Samora and Ana Mano; editing by Grant McCool
24 May 2018

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A severe drought has compromised Brazil’s second corn, the country’s largest crop of the cereal, which is now expected to be 10 million tonnes lower than last season, consultancy Agroconsult said on Thursday.

The firm, which is leading a crop tour of Brazil’s top producing areas, forecast the second corn crop will likely fall to around 57 million tonnes, reducing its previous view by more than 3 million tonnes.

Brazil’s second corn, which is planted after soybeans, accounts for roughly 70 percent of the country’s entire production and make it the world’s third largest producer after the United States and China.

“The drought eased,” said André Pessoa, partner at Agroconsult, during an event in São Paulo, referring to dryness during April and early May, which caused significant losses.

Still, he said Agroconsult’s estimate may be cut further pending a survey of fields in producing states like Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Paraná and Goiás. [more]

Brazil's second corn crop seen 10 mln tns lower than last season -consultancy


By Kayla Ritter
7 March 2018

(Circle of Blue) – In 2014, São Paulo nearly ran out of water amid the region’s worst drought in recorded history. At the height of the crisis, the main reservoir for the city of 20 million dipped to 3 percent capacity and the city had less than 20 days’ water supply. Ultimately, extreme water restrictions, short-term technical fixes, and a little rainfall saved the city from a water catastrophe. [c.f. Desdemona’s collection of stories on the São Paulo water crisis.]

Today, taps run freely in the Western Hemisphere’s largest city, but experts warn that another water crisis is possible in São Paulo. Jerson Kelman, president of the city’s water supplier Sabesp, recently cautioned that ongoing Amazon deforestation could lead to severe water shortages. Pollution is also hampering the city’s water supply as illegal settlements encroach on urban reservoirs.

In reference to the likelihood of another water crisis in São Paulo, Malu Ribeiro, a member of the conservation movement SOS Mata Atlantica, said, “It’s possible to improve by investing in forests and water treatment, but that’s not happening. So of course this [kind of drought] will happen again. The city is still growing. There is more deforestation. More people are living next to water sources. We have learned little or nothing from the crisis.” Conservationists are urging the government to consider sustainable measures, such as building forests and cleaning waterways, in addition to updating water infrastructure. […]

Sabesp president Jerson Kelman played a major role in helping São Paulo avert water disaster three years ago. He says he learned four lessons from the crisis, including the importance of good supply-side engineering, managing demand through price mechanisms, and government transparency during water shortages. Perhaps most importantly, Kelman emphasizes that past climate data may not be a reliable guide for future conditions. During São Paulo’s unprecedented 2014-2015 drought, total rainfall was 50 percent below the previous driest year on record.

The city is taking steps to avert future water crisis, including three mega-projects intended to improve storage capacity. Many residents continue to conserve water, with consumption today still 10 percent below pre-crisis levels. On the other hand, some have criticized São Paulo for its inefficient use of water sources, recommending that the city tap more groundwater instead of focusing largely on above-ground reservoirs. And, of course, the problem of deforestation remains. As swathes of land are cleared for farms and hydropower, São Paulo may be jeopardizing its future water supply. [more]

São Paulo Heading To Another Dry Spell

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