Water shortage becomes public security issue in São Paulo

DefesaNet Note

For portuguese text see

Seca em São Paulo é tratada como caso de segurança pública Link

The Editor

Júlio Ottoboni

DefesaNet Special

The São Paulo state government is preparing for potential protests in its capital and largest city due to water shortage. São Paulo State Military Police’s intelligence department considers the real possibility of severe social instability and the need of forceful intervention. Early this month, top public security officials went to the United States to consult with SWAT directors, for the fear remains that extremists may infiltrate in potential popular acts.  

Escalating tensions have led de military police to take measures such as providing escort for the water trucks that supply  the suburb neighborhoods in São Paulo since groups of people, backed up by urban militia members, started to attack the trucks and steal the water. Many such cases have been registered by the police, and there’s general fear that news of these episodes may trigger a chain of similar events throughout the city.

The overall situation remains serious, despite the rain in the last few days. According to Sabesp, the estate-run company responsible for water supply management in São Paulo, the volume at the water reservoirs that supply the state capital dropped from 9,9% to 9,7% last week, and is close to reaching  the second portion of the dead storage of the Cantareira water supply system, which means the shortage may become even more severe.

According to São Paulo state government sources, security measures are prepared to be launched at any time to prevent riots. Some of the procedures include constant monitoring of social media used by radical groups that caused turmoil during the June 2013 protests. Also, judicial institutions are ready to speed up any order-maintaining demands.

Regarding the climate phenomenon that led to the drought in São Paulo, one of the top meteorology experts in Brazil, Paulo Nobre, researcher at the National Institute of Aerospace Research (Inpe), says there are reasons to worry in case the drought persists: “a mass failure on the water supply system represents a public security issue. Climate changes happened right before great historical events, such as the French and the Bolshevik Revolutions”. Nobre will be responsible for the official meteorological forecast, which will provide data on how much it will rain on the next few days not only in São Paulo, but all over Brazil.

A massive study on megacities, including São Paulo, shows that social instability is a part of these overwhelmed urban environments. Popular dissatisfaction is generally very high, and in São Paulo, water shortage only makes matters worse.

Note DefesaNet

During the last two weeks of November helped insome regions in Brazilian Southeast region, including part of São Paulo, Minas Gerais an Rio de Janeiro States.

But São Paulo Megacity remains the main concern for summer ahead.

The Editor

Material Related

MEGACIDADES – O Fenômeno da MEGACIDADE e o Universo Paulista Link

Megacidades: SP e RJ pelo US Army Link

Megacidades – US Army analisa desigualdade social e o poder do PCC em São Paulo Link

Megacidades: US Army analisa ocupações irregulares e poder paralelo no Rio de Janeiro Link


Leia também

Inscreva-se na nossa newsletter