Sao Paulo in Brazil is home to around 20 million people, and according to Reuters, it has only enough water to last another 2 months.
Sao Paulo had three emergency reservoirs, out of which two have already been used up. The city is now using up its last reserve.
What is going to happen to Sao Paulo after two months is something we’ll have to wait and watch, but chances are that it is not going to be a pretty sight. Already residents have been relying on mineral water.
20 million people and no water means that, most likely, every drop of bottled water is going to be fought for.
But what does this mean for the rest of us? Sao Paulo is no different from other cities across the world – be it China, India or the US. Water is needed for almost everything in our daily lives; to clean ourselves, to drink, to wash clothes, utensils, cars, etc., to cook, to grow herbs, and so much more.
Populations keeping flooding big cities, developers keep building apartment complexes, utilities are guzzled up, air pollution reaches high numbers…and people don’t change.
Sustainability is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. But it more of a show-and-tell exercise than an attempt to make sure that we really do lead the kind of lives that don’t damage our immediate surroundings, that don’t devastate nature.
Instead, we’re greedily consuming the latest gadgets, fashions, and cars as the world starts to burn around us.
We have been warned before that local water systems of some metropolitan cities can often not sustain the number of people that are now dependent on it. Yet we’re blindly rushing down a very scary slope because we seem to be unable to change our ways.
Shortcuts like digging tube-wells only worsen the long-term effects of water shortage as they suck up ground water that should remain in the soil.
So as Sao Paulo faces prepares for a future that looks bleak, we should really see this as an omen. This is what we’re going to face sooner or later. Our cars use fossil fuel, our phones emit radiation, our population keeps expanding, and we consume more than we should.