By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Despite recent rain in Rio de Janeiro state, water levels remain critically low in the Southeast of Brazil. However the level of the Cantareira System, the largest supply source of the metropolitan region of São Paulo, reached the 21st consecutive day high.
Even without rain in São Paulo, the system level rose from 18.2 percent on March 26th to 18.4 percent yesterday (March 27th), according to calculation of the Basic Sanitation Company of the State of São Paulo (SABESP).
Even with the slight increase, the Cantareira remains critically low. A new calculation method, which considers the use of dead volume, that is, below the gates, shows an increased from 14.1 percent to 14.3 percent. The stored volume reached 181.1 billion liters.
The lack of rain has affected other sources, which also showed slight variations. From yesterday to today, the Alto Tietê level fell from 23.1 percent to 23 percent. In the same period, the Rio Grande system fell from 98 percent to 97.8 percent. The Cotia Alto and the Rio Claro increased the capacities of respectively 64.1 percent to 64.3 percent and from 43.5 percent to 43.6 percent. The Guarapiranga remained at the level of 85 percent.
The drought has had an impact on several sectors of life in the region. In the health sector officials say that with the campaigns to save and store available water, the incidence of people contracting dengue, a disease transmitted by mosquitoes, has surged. In January and February of 2015 the Health Ministry registered over 174,000 cases of dengue in the country, an increase of 139 percent over the first two months of 2014.
Economically, the costs for electricity consumption are already on the rise and are expected to reach an increase of up to seventy percent in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo until the end of the year due to a combination of factors such as high temperatures, drought and the high dollar.