DJs Debate Sao Paulo’s Mega-Drought
Leading Brazilian DJs and artists including Wehbba, DJ Meme, Benjamin Ferreira, Paulo Tessuto and Erica Alves from Drone Lovers chatted to Skrufff this week about the impact of Sao Paulo’s increasingly severe mega-drought, which the LA Times said this week is becoming a ‘potentially disastrous crisis’.
“South America’s largest city is running out of water,” the LA Times reported, “Recently even bars and restaurants in the city’s upscale neighborhoods have been serving drinks in unwashed cups or shutting down bathrooms.”
The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, focused on an escalating dengue fever epidemic provoked by mosquitoes breeding rapidly in water stored by residents worried about their taps running dry , while Reuters said the entire city has just ‘two months of guaranteed water supply remaining’.
Paulo Tessuto from underground party crew Carlos Capslock agrred with the Times’ assessment.
“I’ve just got back from an almost dead subdivision of the reservoir. The situation is critical,” he told Skrufff.
“For now I am not personally affected because my neighborhood is considered “noble” and because I live alone my water tank has so far sufficed but even in this area there is now rationing.
“If the situation continues, I think a huge part of the city could end up abandoned.”
Ursound local house DJ Benjamin Ferreira said like Paulo he’s still currently got water in his central Sao Paulo flat, though said he’s equally alarmed.
“I’ve been to some bars and clubs that had run out of water. Some of them offered alcohol instead of water to clean hands,” said Benjamin.
Erica Alves from Drone Lovers concurred.
“It is quite common now not to have water in restaurants, bars and clubs. So you can imagine how club toilets are at 4, 5 in the morning,” she said,
Brazilian tech house star Wehbba said his own water supply remains presently OK though admitted he’s already ‘programming his escape’ by moving to Europe in April.
“Many people I know have been getting their water supplies cut off, sometimes for a whole week. I see some friends going to the gym mostly to be able to shower,” said Wehbba.
“We have no means of storing water, we have very limited space and we are away a lot.
It’s such a scary concept to me that I try not to think about it too much, especially now that we are on the process of moving to another country, but I worry for all my friends and family who will have to deal with it,” he added.
Rio based house legend DJ Meme dismissed press reports his own city could be next (Reuters said Rio de Janeiro has 6 months supply on tap).
“I believe it’s just one more trap that Brazilian politicians are setting up for us,” said Meme, “like, a way to bring the prices higher, or something like that.”
Rio Music Conference organizer Claudio da Rocha Miranda Filho echoed his assessment on prices rises, telling Skrufff ‘water and energy prices are being affected nationally: energy prices have risen 40% recently- can you imagine that?’
“Actually at some few points in Rio I heard there was no water for a short time,” he continued, “ and of course, some restaurants, bars and clubs have had to close their doors at some moments in this crisis because there was no water for essential needs.”
‘It’s really serious,” he added, “we’ve never faced something like this in our entire history.”
Erica from Drone Lovers told Skrufff ‘the water crisis is not only the result of a bad drought, but mainly of insufficient planning from the state government, corruption and privatization of the public water supply company of São Paulo, Sabesp.’.
“As we speak, water and energy fares are going up 40% in the metropolitan area of São Paulo,” she pointed out.
“The bizarre fact is that Sabesp has never profited so much, and the money is not going into infrastructure and expanding reservoirs, it’s going to the banks.
“It becomes obvious that it is mainly an infrastructure problem because even this year we have already had terrible floods in the city. In neighborhoods in the poorest areas there is a baffling contradiction: people have lost their houses to floods, but have no water supply in their taps,” she added.
So what happens if Sao Paulo’s reservoir’s really do run dry?
“If the situation continues, I think a huge part of the city could end up abandoned,” Paulo Tessuto predicted.
“I think it’s going to be terrible – prices will get ridiculously high, people will leave the city,” Benjamin Ferreira agreed.
“I think a lot of people will choose other place to live. I have even thought about going back to my hometown, but it would be really difficult to leave everything I have here behind. I hope it doesn’t happen, though.
I hope it gets better and that this fright teaches people to take care of this precious natural resource. Besides, I hope the government finally worries more about this problem, spending more money on educational programs and on ways to avoid leaks, which, besides the dry weather, are a huge cause of this problem we’re going through now.”
“I hope the population realizes that we have to be more involved with our community; we mustn’t give into this disconnected way of life this city tries to convince us is the right way to live,” Erica concluded.
“Worst case scenario? Massive violent protests, companies closing, people leaving the city, economic collapse of the greatest metropolis in South America. This can result in the greatest economic crisis ever seen here.”
However, this can also be an opportunity for starting over, for rethinking what led us to this failure, for us all to see ourselves as part of the political process.
But in order to do this, we must reach out to our neighbours, strengthen popular movements and fight for a fairer society, for a government for the people, by the people.”
What happens if we run it, Brazil will collapse,” Claudio from RMC concluded.
“People would have to run away ?from the biggest metropolis of South America. Other cities wouldn’t have the infrastructure or facilities to receive or handle these people, it would be a huge mess! But as ‘God in Brazilian; in the last 10 days it ha being raining a lot! Let’s pray for the end of this! Ufa!”