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Management of Water Resources and Irrigated Agriculture in Brazil

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Abstract

Water resources management in Brazil had a substantial quality improvement during the last 30 years. During that period, a multi-objective public administration point of view was established, which had led to: (a) environmental, social and economic sustainability; (b) compatibility among public institutions and public laws; and (c) new set of policies to promote people’s participation. Water resources management law (9,433/1997) and the creation of the National Water Agency (Agência Nacional de Águas) are benchmarks of this period. A share water resources management organization is a social challenge due to the fact that public financial resources becomes diluted as population grows, environmental problems increase and the world’s economic crises amplify its consequences. Brazil being a commodities producer could benefit from the world economic crises and the global warming tendency, considering its geographic extension and location. Facing this dilemma, how the Brazilian society will confront new water resources demands in the near future? This is the challenge set to public policies decision takers.

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Governability
  • Irrigation
  • Policies
  • Shortage
  • Water resources

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Fig. 1.1

Notes

  1. 1.

    It has been estimated that on average, for every unit volume of water used (for domestic and industrial purposes) that is returned to its receiving bodies, the contamination affects about 8–10 equivalent volume of natural water (WMO/IDB 1996).

  2. 2.

    The water demand of a country is the total volume of water used globally to produce the goods and services consumed by its inhabitants. Sometimes it is referred to as the virtual water content of a product. The exports of a country are not included in the estimated demand of water. As examples of water demand, one can indicate that the following is needed: (a) 2900 L of water to produce one shirt made of cotton, when 3.7 % of the global use of water in agricultural production is used to cultivate cotton. This equals 120 L per person per day; (b) 15,500 L for every kilo of beef produced, when 23 % of the water used in agriculture is used for the production of livestock products. This equals 1150 L per person per day; (c) 1500 L of water per kilo of sugarcane produced, being equivalent to 3.4 % of the water used in agriculture. This equals 100 L per person per day when 70 g of sugar is consumed (WWF 2008).

  3. 3.

    Known as rain fed agriculture.

  4. 4.

    Expression used as a literary war of expressing the fact that the water resource crises is being ignored, probably because of the illusory perception of abundance.

  5. 5.

    Virtual Water is the water required to produce, in an intensive way, commodities such as cereals. The importers do not need to use water in the place where the production of the commodity occurs nor where they are consumed. The virtual water is the solution dreamed of by politicians, where the economy finds itself in a situation of water stress. The virtual water is economically invisible and politically silent (Allan 2002).

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT), the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Foundation for Support of Research of the State of São Paulo (FAPESP), for their financial support of this research through the National Institute of Science and Technology in Irrigation Engineering (INCTEI), with the Department of Biosystems Engineering of the School of Agriculture Luiz de Queiroz, University of São Paulo

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Correspondence to Marcos V. Folegatti .

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Folegatti, M.V., Sánchez-Román, R.M., Coelho, R.D., Frizzone, J.A. (2017). Management of Water Resources and Irrigated Agriculture in Brazil. In: de Mattos Bicudo, C., Galizia Tundisi, J., Cortesão Barnsley Scheuenstuhl, M. (eds) Waters of Brazil. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-41372-3_1

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