Brazil: water project in Pernambuco

16.06.2010 By: TRANSFER based on World Bank

The State of Pernambuco, located in the northeast of Brazil, received a loan of US$ 190 mln from the World Bank to finance ‘the Pernambuco Sustainable Water Project’, a project that, once finished, will cost about US$ 410 mln.

Pernambuco is one of the most important states in Brazil. It has around 7,9 mln inhabitants and Recife is its capital. The state is one of the driest in the country and only 3 % of the total amount of water resources available in Brazil is to be found in the Northeastern Region, in spite of the fact that 27,6 % of the Brazilian population lives in this area.

Besides the water difficulties the two mentioned areas have grown without proper public integrated policy and administration for urban areas, which has resulted in poor sanitation services. In the Metropolitan Region of Recife there are water sources, reservoirs and intake points without water to supply the population. The water flow to that region nowadays is around 10,7 m3/s and the rate of total loss is around 55 %. Taking into consideration the fact that 12% of the total amount of freshwater in the world is located in Brazil, the control over the federal water resources has been increasing sharply and a project with the volume of ‘the Pernambuco Sustainable Water Project’ could be expected.

The main project development objective is to improve sustainable water supply and sanitation services for the residents of the Capibaribe river basin (realization in 2014) and the Metropolitan Region of Recife (in short MRR, realization in 2018).

The project is divided into three components.

  1. The first component consists of ‘water sector management and institutional development’. This part coincides with the Government of Pernambuco's (GoPE) goal of long-term water security. In short it means strengthening the sector's institutional and regulatory frameworks regarding the subject as well as reinforcing the state's capacity for integrated sector planning, policy and management. This regards professional water management translated into state policy and updating existing management. For example; new water supply systems will have to be built under new concepts of management and with the planning of future and new projects also social, economical, technical and environmental assets will have to be considered.
  2. The second component of the project focuses on improving efficiency in the provision of water supply and sanitation services. This component will be implemented by the Pernambuco State Water Supply and Sanitation Company (COMPESA), in order to increase the company's operational and economic performance and to improve its corporate governance and management. This part regards control and reduction of water losses in the distribution system as well as in the commercial area, recovery and modernization increase for automatic and long distance metering, but also reutilization and rational utilization of water resources.
  3. The third component of the project is ‘water supply and sanitation service expansion’. This component will support the GoPE and COMPESA in the implementation of several activities. One of the goals is to increase the volume of water supplied to the river basins of the two areas and reach a steady water supply for as many people as possible. Another goal is to expand the sewerage services in the main cities located upstream of the main water supply reservoirs of the Capibaribe river basin. If this expansion can result in less pollution of the water coming from the main cities upstream, one can start improving the water quality itself and start preparing and designing future priority water supply and sewerage systems to be implemented in the state.