The amount of fresh water available on an annual per capita basis to residents in the northern part of Brazil’s Northeast region – the area that will be served by the São Francisco River integration project – is 450 cubic meters.
This is less than a third of what the United Nations defines as the minimum amount to provide for human needs, 1.5 thousand cubic meters.
These figures were presented by the Minister of National Integration, Ciro Gomes, at the 15th Planalto Forum, an event sponsored by the Presidential Advisory Staff for civil servants who work in the Presidency.
"The beneficiaries of the project live under more adverse conditions than Brazilians in other parts of the Northeast," the minister observed.
Gomes said that the São Francisco River integration project is the surest of all such experiences heretofore tested in the world. The federal government expects the project to benefit around 12 million people who are affected by drought in the semi-arid part of the Northeast.
The Minister said recently that the São Francisco transbasin diversion project will not put an end to drought in the semi-arid region of Brazil’s Northeast. But it will alleviate the situation for many people in the backlands of the states of Pernambuco, Paraíba, Ceará, and parts of Piauí.
According to the Minister, the project will provide 1,500 cubic meters of water per inhabitant per year in the area. That will resolve the water shortage for around 45% of the population.
Gomes also pointed out that the government headed off land speculation by expropriating an area of 2.5 kilometers on each side of the project’s water-carrying canals. The land is to be used for land reform and family farming.