From "The Week"
Brazil is experiencing its worst drought in more than 80 years, officials warned this week. Levels of water in the Cantareira reservoir system, which supplies nine million people in the São Paulo area, have dropped to 5.2% of capacity, having fallen further this month – although it’s supposed to be the rainy season. The Paraíba system, which supplies tap water to Rio de Janeiro, is at 1% of capacity. The drought has caused blackouts in six cities, as a result of reduced hydroelectric generation, and led to four million people having their water rationed. It has also blighted the country’s agricultural sector: production of Arabica coffee beans fell 15% last year. The authorities have blamed the lack of rainfall, and rising demand – but critics point out that vast amounts of tap water are lost to leaking pipes and illegal access.