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Water security in the Guarani Aquifer in São Paulo, Brazil


The Guarani Aquifer System (GAS) is one of the most important transboundary freshwater aquifers in the world, located in four South American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). The fossil groundwater is approximately 10,000 years old, and in the central part even 120,000 years. It has an estimated surface area of approximately 1.2 million square kilometers, of which 71% (839,800 km2) is located in Brazil, 19% (225,500 km2) in Argentina, 6% (71,700 km2) in Paraguay, and 4% (45,000 km2) in Uruguay. An estimated fifteen million people live within the aquifer's surface area. It is estimated to contain about 37,000 km3 of water, which is more than the volume of the Great Lakes in Canada, with a total recharge rate of about 166 km³/year from precipitation. The GAS area within Brazil is equal to approximately 80% of the province of Ontario in Canada, and extends across 8 Brazilian states and 1,443 municipalities with growing water demand for urban, industrial and agricultural purposes.Given its strategic social and economic importance, it is essential to understand current and future water demand relying on the GAS and its replenishment. However, only a few hydro-geologic studies exist that focus on the hydrological and contamination monitoring and modelling of the GAS's recharge mechanisms. In addition, there is an urgent need to address the sustainable governance of the GAS in order to be able to meet current and future water demand, including the potential role of different policy instruments to manage access to and exploitation of the GAS. (AU)

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