About 70% of the world’s freshwater is used by agriculture, according to the World Bank. In Brazil, the water used in the field is predominantly collected from the rains, but the government has programnes designed to protect the resource.
Part of the São Francisco River Integration Project, the Plano Nascente (“Spring Plan”) creates a framework for integrated government action for the preservation of 10,000 springs in the region. At the moment, according to the Ministry of Integration, Helder Zahluth Barbalho (photo), more than 1.7 thousand springs have already been protected. The Plan will run for ten years, and has as its main goals to clean up the river, reduce silting, expand water supply and recover degraded areas.
The River Planters programme, launched in 2017 by the Ministry of the Environment, José Sarney Filho, aims to protect springs in Permanent Preservation Areas (APP). The ministry created an app that allows individuals, institutions and rural property owners enrolled in the Rural Environmental Registry System (SiCAR) to engage directly with protection actions. So far, about 5,000 people have already downloaded the app.
To support the country’s farmers, who rely on water for all activities in the field, ted the Water Producer programme. Participants receive financial resources and technical guidance to implement projects that prevent soil erosion and silting in springs, improve water quality and enhance availability, not only in rural areas but for the country in general.