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Water use

In 2010 total water withdrawal was estimated at 74 830 million m3 of which 40 050 million m3 (54 percent) for irrigation, 4 850 million m3 (6 percent) for livestock, 17 210 million m3 (23 percent) for municipalities and 12 720 million m3 (17 percent) for industries (ANA, 2012) (Table 5 and Figure 1). In 2006 and 2000 total water withdrawal was estimated at 58 074 million m3 and 50 205 million m3 respectively (ANA, 2009). In 1996 agricultural withdrawal represented 61 percent of total withdrawal, municipalities 21 percent and industry 18 percent.

Table 6 shows water withdrawal by sector and by river basin in 2006. Paraná basin was responsible for 27 percent of the total withdrawals of the country, while it has only 6 percent of the water resources of the country, and South Atlantic Basin was responsible for 15 percent, while having only 2 percent of the water resources of the country. On the other extreme, in the Amazon basin, having 74 percent of the water resources of the country, water withdrawal was only 4 percent of the total water withdrawal of the country.

Considering the water balance, the water availability of the Amazon river basin is high and demand low due to low population density. The most critical situations of the country are located in the Northeast Atlantic (eastern part), where the availability of water resources is very low. The basins of San Francisco and the East Atlantic have also areas with critical situations. In these regions there is usually a combination of low rainfall and high evapotranspiration. In the Paraná and Southeast Atlantic basins the water balance is critical due to the high demographic density. In the South Atlantic and Uruguay basins the water balance is critical due to the high demand for irrigation (ANA, 2009).

The use of groundwater has grown rapidly in recent decades and there are indications that this trend will continue. Water from wells and springs has been used for various purposes, such as drinking, irrigation, industry and leisure. 15.6 percent of Brazilian households rely exclusively on groundwater. Although the use of groundwater is complementary to the use of surface water in many regions, it is the main source of water in other areas. It plays an important role in the socioeconomic development of the country and of poor communities distant from public supply networks. In agriculture, the demand for groundwater has grown strongly in recent decades. It is already widely used in irrigation in several regions, such as West Bahia and the Chapada Tableland (ANA, 2009). The number of wells constructed during the period 1958-2008 is estimated at 416 000.

No information is available on the amount of wastewater directly used. In 1996, 0.04 km3/of desalinated water was used for livestock and domestic purposes in the Northeast region.


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       Quote as: FAO. 2016. AQUASTAT website. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Website accessed on [yyyy/mm/dd].
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