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Water Security: Strategic Resource of Water

14:20 14 de November de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica

For a state where climatic conditions make water a strategic resource, investments and planning are essential. That is why Ceará has established a Water Security Program in the semi-arid region, to guarantee the supply of water for human use and for the State’s economic activities, with a high margin of guarantee.

The Ceará Water Resources System has a water infrastructure of dams, wells, water mains and integration axes between the hydrographic basins. The set of these actions has expanded the guarantee of water supply and made Ceará a more resilient state to periods of drought. However, the drought recorded between 2012 and 2016 brought consequences to the system, leading the main reservoirs to exhaustion.

To increase the efficiency of these captures, the Water Resources Department designed the Malha D’Água Project. The study outlined a new water supply strategy for the urban centers of Ceará, which, indirectly, will influence the dynamics of water supply for other uses. The proposal is to increase the density of the water mains network, considering all urban centers in the State, with collection carried out directly from springs with greater water guarantee and implementation of treatment stations next to these reservoirs.

In addition, the planned pipeline network is being crossed with the routes of water trucks, optimizing their use and reducing their routes, as well as influencing the quality of water for dispersed rural service.

In the study that resulted in the Initial Design of the Malha d`Água Project, 34 water mains systems and 4 water mains axes for integrating the Malha D’Água were identified, totaling an investment of around 6 billion Reals (about 1.13 billion dollars).

The first phase of the project includes the construction of the Banabuiú – Sertão Central pipeline system, with almost 700 km (291.61 km of main pipeline and 396.48 km of pipeline branches), to supply treated water to nine municipal centers and 38 district centers.  The investment is 643.3 million Reals (about 121 million dollars), with resources from the Government of Ceará, obtained through a contract with the World Bank. The stage of the Malha D’água Project, which includes the Tauá – Arneiroz pipeline system, is nearing completion. The Banabuiú – Sertão Central Pipeline System is already at the beginning of the works.

Ceará Water Belt
The other major project also underway in the state is the Ceará Water Belt (CAC). Designed to increase the capillarity of the flows carried by the São Francisco River Integration Project in the state of Ceará, the project already has the first stretch being implemented. It is 145.3 km long, comprising segments of open-air channels, tunnels and siphons, to carry water from the Jati dam, in the municipality of the same name, to the sources of the Cariús River, in the municipality of Nova Olinda, in the Alto Jaguaribe region.

For the Cariri Region, the second in population density and economic importance of the State, the CAC will increase the water guarantee, since the Missão Velha aquifer, the main source of the region to meet all the demands of the population, shows the first signs that it has reached its limits. Thus, by establishing a greater proximity of the São Francisco Project water to all the municipalities of the Salgado watershed, the CAC increases the water availability for multiple uses for the entire population of the Cariri Region.

Another no less important benefit provided by the CAC is the increase in the water supply guarantee for the municipalities of the Alto Jaguaribe region, by means of the piping systems conceived in the Malha d’Água program. This system will have its intake at the end of Section 1, in Crato or Nova Olinda, and will carry treated water to cities such as Araripe, Campos Sales and Salitre, among others that have significant water vulnerability.

Section 1, starting at the water intake at the Jati dam, has a total length of 145.3 km, ending at the crossing of the Cariús River. The Section is divided into five lots, with lots 1, 2 and 5 already completed. Lots 3 and 4 already had 46.48% and 25.70% of the works in progress in November 2022. In total, 70.86% of the works had already been carried out in November 2022. When ready, Section 1 will benefit around 4.5 million people from Ceará. The total investment is 1.1 billion Reals (about 207 million dollars).


Podcast: Gianni Peixoto de Lima, Special Projects Advisor of the Secretary of Water Resources of Ceará