Give Us Our Daily Water
2015 has seen the driest winter in eighty-four years in southeastern Brazil. Water shortages became extremely critical in São Paulo, home to twenty million people. At the end of winter, officials were estimating São Paolo's reserves would last a mere ninety days without additional rainfall. Filmmaker Elizabeth Salgado went in search for water and found an increasingly apocalyptic landscape. People in São Paulo are resorting to deliveries from bicycle riders carrying jugs of water. Others are digging their private wells on their own land or even in basements, which can lead to contamination issues. Those who can afford it are hoarding water, and the more resourceful are using cisterns and building rainwater catchment systems. Local rivers are polluted due to sewage problems and cannot be used for drinking water. Some have simply fled the city, becoming 21st century "water refugees." Government officials deserve part of the blame, as Brazilians cited recent elections and last year's World Cup, which conveniently allowed politicians to procrastinate and avoid the problem. Against this background, filmmaker Elizabeth Salgado sets out in search of water.