Brazil will end the year as one of the first countries to formulate a National Water Plan, one of the Goals of the Millennium established by the United Nations (UN).
The UN member countries are committed to achieving these goals, which also include eliminating extreme poverty and hunger in the world by 2015.
The Brazilian Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, says that "a very intense effort" was made to concretize the plan. Various regional meetings were held, and, according to her, the participation of Brazil’s National Water Agency (ANA) and the National Secretariat of Water Resources were essential to the elaboration of the plan.
"Having a water law already constitutes a great advance for Brazil, and, now, being one of the first countries to have a national resource plan enables the country to reach one of the UN’s Goals of the Millennium, which is precisely the formulation of a water resource plan. We shall begin implementing the plan next year," the Minister affirms.
The National Water Plan is a set of actions aimed at the recovery of hydrographic basins. "This is an effort that needs to be made, and we are working together with the Basin Committees," the Minister observes.
These committees, which are part of the National System of Water Resources, count on societal participation in the preparation of government policies to manage water resources.
For the Minister of Environment, the major problem the plan must resolve is how to use water more fairly, taking into account its various uses, such as providing for human needs, industries, and irrigation projects.
"The plan’s contribution to the administration of water resources is precisely to give us a strategic perspective of the different basins, mainly to establish what is referred to by specialists as multiple water use, in which the different uses are regulated in order to preserve the resource," she says.
The purpose of the concept of multiple water use is to ensure its use on a sustainable basis. "In the case of the Brazilian semi-arid region, around 13 million people depend upon water from the São Francisco River; so regulating the use of water resources in this basin is a very complex issue that has led to very interesting and quite intense controversies and debates," she explains.