Brazil: More Efficient Water Management Towards Universal Water Supply and Sanitation

Despite having almost 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, Brazil suffers from very unequal access and increasing natural disasters linked to extreme weather, either flooding or drought, with growing social and economic impacts.  In this context, the World Bank has approved a US$ 107.332 million technical assistance loan for the Federal Integrated Water Sector Project (Interaguas). The project will help Brazil provide equitable, reliable and sustainable access to water supply and sanitation services, by creating an effective integrated planning across the country’s water sector to optimize public investment, maximize economic and social returns, and ensure environmental and social sustainability.
The project, to be jointly coordinated by the Brazilian Ministries of Environment, National Integration and Cities, and the National Water Agency (ANA), will tackle Brazil's major water development challenges through five areas:

  • Water Resources Management will strengthen Brazil’s National Water Resources Plan as well as state and river basin plans and agencies;
  • Water, Irrigation and Disaster Risk Management – will support water infrastructure, irrigation and National Civil Protection System – (Sindec) activities.
  • Water supply and sanitation – will support quality improvements in water supply and sanitation services to promote universal access;
  • Intersector coordination and integrated planning – will support integrated planning among Federal institutions in the water sector, carry out institutional improvements and support water management and conservation measures in river basins; and
  • Project management, monitoring and evaluation – will support the management the Project to coordinate, monitor and evaluate all actions. It will also ensure the knowledge sharing in the water sector.

"The Interaguas Project began from the need to improve the articulation and coordination of activities in the water sector. It creates an integrated environment and helps to increase the institutional capacity and planning of water resources, contributing to the implementation of policies and public investments more harmoniously" said Vicente Andreu, Director President of ANA.

For Nabil Bonduki, Secretary of Water Resources and Urban Environment of the Ministry of Environment, Interaguas is a "pioneer project that will not only increase the planning and management capacities of the Ministries of Environment, Cities and National Integration, but will also help optimize resources and coordinate actions to increase water use efficiency as well as the proper management of solid waste to reach quality service in both in urban and rural areas."
From water scarcity in the poor Northeastern region and pollution of rivers and streams, to inequitable access to water supply and wastewater treatment, passing through the mitigation of climate change impacts, most of the water challenges facing Brazil directly impact its social and economic development.
“Brazil is setting up the basis for stronger economic growth, and this will put further pressure on the country’s water resources, urban development and infrastructure. These challenges make the planned use of water resources a prominent concern for Brazil”, said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Director for Brazil. “The Interaguas Project supports the Brazilian strategy of using water supply and sanitation as a key element to promote sustainable growth and a more equitable and inclusive society. And it is also an important part of the World Bank commitment with the Northeast Brazil”.
The World Bank has been a long term partner of Brazil in the water and sanitation sector. Over the past decades, the Bank has financed ProÁgua and Water Sector Modernization  projects, which contributed to develop the water sector by promoting a rational, sustainable and more efficient use of water resources and provision of water supply and sanitation services in Brazil in general, and in the poorest Northeast in particular. The knowledge and lessons from these and other projects have informed this second generation of water resources management support.

Since 1971, the World Bank has invested more than US$ 4.9 billion on water sector projects in Brazil, including the loan approved today.
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