By Roberto Samora and Ana Mano
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s government agencies warned this week of a drought as the country is in its worst dry spell in 91 years, raising fears of energy rationing, damage to agriculture and increased risk of fires in the Amazon.
Late on Thursday, the Electricity Sector Monitoring Committee (CMSE), linked to the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, recommended that the water regulator, ANA, recognize the status of “water shortage”, after a prolonged drought that has affected central and southern Brazil along the Paraná river basin.
On the other hand, a meteorological watchdog linked to the Ministry of Agriculture issued its first “emergency drought alert” for the months of June to September, saying that rains are likely to remain scarce in five Brazilian states during that period.
The lack of rain in much of Brazil has negative implications for cereal cultivation, livestock, and electricity generation, because Brazil relies heavily on hydroelectric dams for its operation.
The dry climate could also cause serious fires in the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal wetlands, according to scientists.
The CMSE said the lack of rain makes it important to relax restrictions on some hydroelectric plants to allow for more power generation or more storage in certain regions, which will require difficult talks between politicians, the ANA and the environmental protection agency Ibama. .
“Power rationing is not planned, but if restrictions are not relaxed, there is no other way,” said a source with knowledge of the situation.
Drier-than-normal weather has affected sugar and coffee production in Brazil, the world’s largest supplier of these products, driving up commodity futures prices.
Continue reading the story
Coffee futures hit a new four-and-a-half-year high on Friday, with traders concerned that dry soil in Minas Gerais could affect the 2022 coffee harvest as well.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy said dry conditions will persist in the coming months, particularly in the southeastern and central-west regions.
(Report by Roberto Samora, Ana Mano in São Paulo; additional report by Marcelo Teixeira in New York and Rodrigo Viga Gaier, Edited in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)