How Brazil’s water crisis could dry up agribusiness

Low levels in hydroelectric reservoirs have raised the alarm nationwide. While the population fears power outages and rationing policies, agribusiness is facing a series of potential production problems

How Brazil's water crisis could dry up agribusiness
Corn fields in Minas Gerais. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

Brazil is in the throes of its worst water crisis in 91 years. Since Brazil’s meteorological service was created almost a century ago, no other September-to-May period has been as dry as the one between late last year and 2021. According to the administrators of the national power grid (ONS), water reservoirs in the Southeast/Center-West systems — which are the largest in the country — are set to end July at just 26.6 percent capacity.

Capacity forecasts are even lower than 2001, when Brazil was forced to undergo aggressive electricity rationing policies, but failed to avoid massive blackouts. The...

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