Brazil’s northeastern state of Alagoas has declared a 180-day state of emergency after dozens of cities in the region experienced water shortages that has affected more than 200,000 people.
Arapiraca is among the 38 cities in an area that thrives on tobacco crop. This year, however, has experienced an extremely bad harvest.
Local farmers are also experiencing a shortfall in the corn yield and its very different to last year’s harvest when corn, beans and cassava were completely sold out.
Most families in rural areas depend mostly on their home water tanks.
“The water is only enough for two days for one family. After it runs out, we will have to take a bucket and ride the motorbike to find water in other places,” said Jose, a resident.
This region of Brazil is known for its dry weather conditions and frequent droughts,
According to experts, regional development is one of the primary reasons behind the fast desertification process happening across this part of the country.
During 2012-2017, the already poor Brazilian northeast experienced its longest and most intense drought since 1980, when more than half of the region was affected.
In July, large water reservoirs in the northeast, which can store up to 10 billion litres of water, were only operating at an average of 16 percent of their normal capacity, down from 46 percent that they were at close to the beginning of the ongoing drought six years earlier.