Journal article Open Access

Rainwater usage in Paraiba's "Sertão", Brazil (in Portuguese)

Miranda,Roberto de Sousa; Ferreira, Laiany Tassila

The objective of this article is to discuss the use of rainwater by family farmers in theSertão ofthe State of Paraiba, Brazil, and, in this connection, government programs adoptedfor this purpose. , The article adopts a critical perspective oriented by a political ecological approach, a theoretical-analytical framework that claims that the appropriation of natural resources is organized by powersocial relations, which puts pressure on the environment and is the cause of social exclusion. The methodology was based on bibliographic and documentary research, and interviews. The results showed that the collection and storage of rainwater in cisterns did not guarantee autonomy to the families, and that although public policies contributed to a slight modification of political relations, there was no reduction in inequalities in the access to water. The use of rainwater, a common practice in many civilizations, is regaining prominence in both developed and developing countries. In the latter, and especially in some rural areas of Asia, Africa and Latin America, rainwater may provide more abundant and better-quality water than distant and polluted surface or groundwater sources. In developed countries, the use of rainwater diminishes pressures on public networks, satisfying certain uses without having to resort to very expensive and environmentally problematic infrastructures. However, rainwater suffers from a major problem which is the uncertainty of supply, especially in the absence of well-sized catchment surfaces and storage tanks for areas of scarce and erratic rainfall. In hydrosocial terms, the use of rainwater can empower communities, fostering decentralized governance and control of water resources.

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