"BUILDING CIVIC PARTICIPATION IN BRAZIL'S SEMI-ARID REGION"
The Brazilian Northeast is a semiarid region of 974,752 square km. 22 million people live in the region. Climate change is creating situations that could cause water shortages similar to the African Sahel. The Articulação no Semi-Árido (Articulation in the Semi-Arid Region, or ASA) is a network that brings together some 700 organizations, including farming unions, cooperatives, churches, rural worker federations, community associations, and NGOs, in order to foster development in the region.
The official approach to water management in the region has always been tied to large-scale projects, such as the huge water diversion project from the São Francisco. The government now intends to spend US$2 billion on a 700-km-long canal diverting water north from the São Francisco for the irrigation of large agro-export businesses, agro-fuels and shrimp. An enormous social movement has developed to oppose the water transfer project.
On the basis of recognizing access to safe water as a human right, the ASA Program promotes the One Million Cisterns Program, which seeks to deliver clean water to five million people. 190,330 cisterns have already been built in more than a thousand cities, and 187,923 families have been trained in water management.
© Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua 2009