Brazil: The Evolution of the Law and Politics of Water

  • Paulo José Leite Farias

Brazil's natural beauties were exploited during and after Portuguese colonization as if they were infinite. Red dyewood deforestation gave a name to the country (‘pau brasil’). Non-sustainable economic activities of the colonial era, including sugar cane production, cattle ranching and mining, overused the land and water resources. After independence, deforestation continued, justified by narrow economic perspectives, resulting in increasing destruction of Brazilian ecosystems. More recently, this destruction stimulated contemporary preservationist impulses such as expressed in the National Water Act of 1997. Today, institutions aim to balance the economic and ecological values of water in a developing country that relies heavily on hydropower and irrigation. Water is now treated as a finite natural resource that must be managed through river basin committees to develop a balance between human consumption and ecosystem needs.


Brazil ecocentric view ecological flow environment hydropower institutions water basin management 


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  • Paulo José Leite Farias

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