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SAO PAULO (AP) – More than 140 cities are rationing water amid the worst drought to hit Brazil in decades, according to a survey conducted by the country’s leading newspaper.
The Folha de S. Paulo newspaper wrote Saturday that water is being rationed to close to six million people living in 142 cities in 11 states.
The newspaper quoted water supply companies saying reservoirs, rivers and streams are the driest they’ve been in 20 years.
Some neighborhoods in the city of Itu in Sao Paulo state only receive water for 13 hours, once every three days.
Water consumption normally grows by up to 20 percent during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer. But this year, consumption has risen by up to 30 percent due to a prolonged heat wave affecting several states.
The Cantareira water system, the largest of six that provide water to some 9 million of the 20 million people living in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo city, is at less than 19 percent of its capacity of 1 trillion liters (264 billion gallons), water utility Sabesp said Saturday on its website.
Sabesp described the situation at Cantareira as “critical” because the amount of rain registered between December 2013 and January 2014 was the lowest in 84 years.
Sabesp said the other five water supply systems in Sao Paulo’s metropolitan area were normal for this time of year.
The PCJ Consorcio water association said the area would have to see 17 millimeters of rain a day for two months until Cantareira’s water level grows to 50 percent of its capacity.
State officials in California have said that 17 communities will be out of water within the next two to four months.
Wells are starting to run dry and reservoir levels are low as the state faces the worst drought in almost a century. The number of vulnerable communities is expected to increase over the coming weeks and months, and the list will be updated weekly said Dave Mazzera, acting drinking water division chief for the California Department of Public Health.
Lompico is one of the affected areas.
“We have been unable to take water out of the creek since August and well production is down, and we didn’t have that much water to begin with.” said Lois Henry from the Lompico water board. She is certain the district will soon have to truck in water.
Cloverdale has already seen the implementation of mandatory 25% rationing and a ban on lawn watering. It’s very likely that more mandatory cut backs will follow.
The 17 most vulnerable areas are:
- Jackson Valley Irrigation District
- Shaver Lake Heights Mutual Water Co District
- Sierra Cedars Community Services district
- Boulder Canyon Water Association area
- Camp Condor
- The Cypress Canyon Water System
- Lake of the Woods Mutual Water Co area
- Bass Lake Water Co area
- Whispering Pines
- Brooktrails Township Community District
- Redwood Valley Community Water district
- Washington Ridge Conservation camp
- Ophir Gardens
- Lompico County Water District
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