Brazil’s situation is privileged and worrisome at the same time, in the opinion of the director of the Coordinating Body of Itaipu, Nelton Friedrich.
According to Friedrich, even though the country lacks an adequate distribution of hydrological resources, which are mainly concentrated in the North, Brazil is responsible for 8% of the fresh water on the planet’s surface and 13.5% of the world’s potential supply.
He said that National Water Agency reports show that 70% of the watercourses in the region extending from Rio Grande do Sul to Bahia possess high levels of pollution, completely out of control in some cases.
"This demonstrates that while the world faces a crisis involving water scarcity, we have it in abundance on the surface, below ground, and deeper in the earth, in the aquifers, except that we are not taking good care of it."
The director of Itaipu talked at the international forum, Dialogues on the Plate River ("Rio de la Plata") Basin, which happened recently in Foz do Iguaçu, with the participation of representatives of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, and Bolivia, the five countries that utilize water from the Plate River Basin.
Friedrich asserted that just treating the water isn’t enough; it is also necessary to make it available to the whole population. He recalled that 45 million Brazilians don’t have access to potable water and that many cities have no sewage treatment – the prime cause of water contamination.
Friedrich pointed out that water is a public good, guaranteed in the Constitution, and that a policy is needed including precautions to avoid wasting water.
The Itaipu director said that a large volume of water is lost in Brazil between the treatment station and the final consumer’s tap. According to him, in some regions these losses amount to 60% of the water that has already been treated and is ready to use.