Best practices in water management were the main focus of the side event Water Security and Watershed Management, as part of the Global Symposium on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions program, this June (13), in Foz do Iguaçu (PR). The Symposium is organized by Itaipu Binacional and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
The debate brought together specialists from Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The panel was moderated by biologist Simone Frederigi Benassis and biochemist Gabriela Rocio Sosa Benegas. They both work in the Itaipu Reservoir Division in the Brazilian and Paraguayan margins, respectively.
Professor Gustavo Athayde, from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), spoke about “Groundwater: water and energy security, under our feet”, a subject that gains relevance especially in periods of drought, when the search for artesian wells tends to grow, increasing also the risks of water contamination.
Athayde recalled that groundwater represents 99% of the resource available for consumption in the world and that it is a finite resource, that can run out if not well managed. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) chose groundwater as the main topic for publicity by the entity in 2022.
Another subject addressed by the professor was the Hidrosfera Project, with support from Itaipu, to monitor the underground and surface waters of the Paraná Basin 3 (BP3), which is conected to the plant’s reservoir. Research is directly related to energy security, he says. “The watersheds receive discharge from the aquifers, which help to maintain the flow of the rivers in periods of drought.”
Professor Mario Schereider, director of the UNESCO Chair on Water and Education for Sustainable Development, at the Faculty of Engineering and Water Sciences at the Universidad Nacional del Litoral, in Argentina, presented the lecture “Integrated Management of Hydrographic Basins”.
According to him, “a watershed is more than a physical limitation. It is where human beings and nature interact. And there are laws in nature that man cannot change”. Schereider defends a participatory management model, with shared responsibility. “Local actors cannot be ignored”, he stresses, citing Peru as a good example in the management of water resources.
Agronomist Hudson Carlos Lissoni Leonardo, from the Operational Support Division from Itaipu, addressed the theme “Itaipu Binacional, from Vision to Action in the Incremental Water Contribution Area of its Reservoir”, with the company’s experiences in projects in the area of influence, with special attention to the relationship between water security and agribusiness.
“We have agricultural practices to enhance infiltration (greater absorption of water by the soil), storage and reduce water loss,” he said, citing as an example the use of brachiaria (forage cover) to improve soil structure, the terracing (which prevents erosion) and the adequacy of rural roads.
Also from the Operational Support Division of Itaipu, Raquel Freitas Duarte spoke about “Management of Territorial Information with a Focus on Water Security”, discussing the types of territory monitoring (manual, automatic and satellite) and the importance of the activity to mitigate environmental impacts. effects of extreme situations, which may affect the useful life of the plant’s reservoir.
Duarte mentioned the company’s partnerships, in particular, the agreement with the Itaipu Technological Park (PTI) to develop the Territorial Intelligence Center (NIT) – which operates in data collection and processing. One of the channels for disseminating information is the Itaipu Map Portal. “With continuous monitoring, we will know which priority areas to intervene in the territory”, she said.
The director of Planning and Statistical Coordination of the National Institute of Statistics of Paraguay, Oscar Barrios, presented the project “Strengthening the Water Information System in Paraguay”, carried out in partnership with Itaipu. According to him, the objective is to build indicators that can help the neighboring country in public policies focused on the water theme.