Government to address the nation on water crisis

water crisis energy
President Jair Bolsonaro with Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque. Photo: Carolina Antunes/PR

Brazil’s Mines and Energy Minister Bento Albuquerque will address the nation this evening to announce a nationwide hike to utility bills. The rise comes as the government increases output from thermal power plants — which are more expensive (and polluting) than their hydroelectric counterparts, traditionally the main source of energy in Brazil.

Five states are on high alert for a water emergency after Brazil recorded its lowest rainfall for the September-April period since 1931. It is the first time Brazil’s 111-year-old meteorological service has issued such a warning.

Rainfall is only due to pick up by late September, and droughts are expected to be particularly harsh in the Center-West and Southeast regions. Mr. Albuquerque has denied the risk of electricity rationing — though experts believe they are likely. According to operators of the national power grid, the average level of hydroelectric reservoirs fell to 32 percent at the end of May, the lowest level since a similar crisis in 2015.

rainfall energy
Source: Cemaden