Brazilian water crisis calls for efficient water management

2015: Southeastern Brazil is facing its worst drought in more than 80 years. For São Paolo, the most populous state in Brazil, water levels have reached worrying lows due to drought and water supply reduction

One of the symbols of this crisis, which in São Paolo started back in 2014, was the drastic reduction in the Cantareira System; an immense reservoir administered by SABESP and responsible for the water supply of about 8.8 million people. The drought in the southeast, in combination with factors related to infrastructure and planning, was responsible for the worst water crisis faced by the region. SABESP´s role in the crisis was to identify quick solutions to increase water supply to the people and to create new procedures and emergency projects to improve the situation and prepare for the coming years.

The crisis scenario threatened to create serious problems for the country, mainly to the Greater São Paulo (RMSP) which is the financial centre of Brazil. The area is home to about 20 million people, making it the seventh most populous urban area in the entire world. Because of its immense size and industrial value, the area faces several challenges when it comes to managing its scarce water resources in the most efficient way.


AVK was an important partner for SABESP throughout this challenge, assisting in two important fields: 
Firstly, AVK led the Danish Water Forum in Brazil, which included a group of professionals that are promoting new concepts, technologies and techniques to underground water mapping. Second, it included looking into the advantages but also challenges of working with district metering areas within the water network (DMA's), and to look into risk management.

Transporting water in huge amounts and over long distances

In drought periods, it is sometimes seen that complete rivers and lakes are completely dried out. This can have consequences for many aspects of a community, not least if the drinking water supply is directly dependent on the river or lake. This means water will have to be transported in from areas further away, and it can also call for more efficient handling of the accessible, scarce water resources. 

For SABESP, our metal seated gate valves were considered the best valve to promote drilling service under pressure for relocation of major pipelines and networks where demand for water is large and the supply is low. More specifically, the projects included our series 54 ranging from 600 mm to 1200 mm. 

According to the SABESP engineers, the series 54 meets and exceeds all expectations for a delicate job like the one in São Paolo, and the project results will be a point of enormous importance for the AVK brand in Brazil. The forecast supply for 2015/2016 is of approximately US $ 1M order.

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