Skip to Main Navigation
FEATURE STORY October 29, 2020

Working Together for a Water-Secure Brazil


This week, the Brazilian Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering is hosting Brazil Water Week (BWW) virtually from October 26-30. The World Bank joins professionals, companies from Brazil, academics, and international organizations to discuss and address the water sector's challenges, public policies, solutions and technologies that exist in Brazil and around the world.

 *Watch the Replay of Brazil Water Week Sessions 

For years, the World Bank has been working with Brazil to tackle its water challenges through investments, technical assistance, knowledge and innovative solutions.

World Bank-financed projects have helped Brazil sustain water resources, deliver services, and build resilience. Given that water touches every aspect of development and flows through nearly every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), the Bank’s water-related investments have impacts that go far beyond just the water sector. The water team works closely with colleagues in agriculture, urban development, rural development, disaster management, energy, health and other sectors to achieve the SDGs across the board.

*Click HERE to get some snapshots of the Bank’s recently closed and ongoing water lending projects in Brazil.

In addition to our lending projects, the World Bank devotes considerable attention to delivering analytical and advisory products and harnessing the latest in-depth international knowledge and know-how to effect change in Brazil’s water sector. We believe in the importance of providing policy advice based on evidence, and analysis based on sound methodologies.

*Click HERE to learn some recent examples of the Bank’s knowledge products on Brazil’s water sector.

By building on the World Bank’s convening power, our partnerships become our strength. The World Bank is working with various partners from both government and non-governmental organizations locally, nationally and globally to deliver impact in Brazil. We are always open to new partnerships since the way forward is working together to tackle the most pressing water challenges.

*Click HERE to take a deep dive into the Bank's work with partners in Brazil.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light Brazil's inequalities in access to water and sanitation, and has further choked a sector that already suffered from a lack of investment. The World Bank is helping the country assess the impact of the crisis on the sector and advising on the need for public policies that ensure universal coverage. Without such services, it is difficult to adopt the recommended hygiene protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Since March 2020, the World Bank’s water team has been monitoring the main public policies on water supply and sanitation that governments in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region have introduced in response to the pandemic. Sector responses are monitored across LAC countries at the national level, with a zoom-in on Brazil to also monitor responses at the state level. Tracked measures under this monitoring exercise are compiled periodically and can be accessed through a user-interactive platform – WSS Responses to COVID-19 Dashboard. Together with UNICEF, the Stockholm International Water Institute, we have released a technical Policy Note titled The Key Role of WASH in Brazil’s Response to COVID-19, which analyzes the actions implemented in Brazil and provides recommendations for a more effective and equitable water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Political commitment and leadership, technological innovations, and breakthroughs in service delivery and financing models are all needed to support governments to deliver on their commitment to the SDGs. Pressure on water is rising and urgent action is needed. The solutions must be bold enough to match the scale of the challenge.  The World Bank, together with the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, stand ready to take on this challenge with all stakeholders in Brazil to continue delivering the vision of a water secure world for all.


Delivering Investments

Sergipe Water Project (closed)


By strengthening Brazil’s water sector management, enhancing soil management practices and improving water quality, the Project promoted the efficient and sustainable use of water in the country’s Sergipe River Basin. 

Learn more in the Results Brief

São Paulo Water Recovery Project – REAGUA (closed) 


The project was designed to respond to the state’s water scarcity problem by increasing clean water availability and enhancing water quality in the state’s five most critical watersheds. 

Learn more in the Results Brief

Brazil Federal Integrated Water Sector Project - Interaguas (closed)


Through the Federal Integrated Water Sector Project, Brazil improved coordination and strengthened capacity among key federal water sector institutions, including the former Ministry of Environment, the National Water Agency, the former Ministry of National Integration and the former Ministry of Cities. 

Learn more in the Results Brief

Integrated Water Management In Metropolitan São Paulo (Mananciais) Project (closed)


The project promoted the protection and maintenance of the quality and reliability of the region’s water resources and potable water sources, the improvement of the quality of life of the poor populations residing in key targeted urban river basins, and the strengthening of institutional capacity. 

Learn more in the Results Brief

Ongoing Projects

Espírito Santo Integrated Sustainable Water Management Project

The project is supporting the improvement of water resources management, increasing the population’s access to sanitation by expanding capacity to collect and treat sewage, and reinforcing the State’s capacity to cope with natural disasters.

Sabesp Improving Water Service Access and Security in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo Project

The project is working to increase access to water services for the most vulnerable people, while contributing to the reduction of water losses and pollution loads in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo.

Ceará Water Security and Governance Project

The project works to strengthen capacity for water resources management in the state of Ceará, improve the reliability of water services in selected municipalities, and improve the operational efficiency of water services in the city of Fortaleza.

Teresina Enhancing Municipal Governance and Quality of Life Project

Recognized by the Brazilian government as a prime example of green and inclusive growth, the project has two objectives: 1) modernize and improve the management capacity of the Teresina Municipal Government in the financial, urban, environmental, service-delivery, and economic development fields; and 2) improve the quality of life of the low-income population in the Lagoas do Norte region of the city.

Paraiba Improving Water Resources Management and Services Provision project

The project works to build a more integrated water system, which will improve security and promote efficient and expanded water services in the State of Paraiba, which is expected to benefit around 4 million people that currently live in the region.  

Sharing Knowledge

Dashboard on WSS responses to COVID – Brazil 



The World Bank’s Water Global Practice has been monitoring the main public policies on WSS that governments in LAC are introducing in response to the pandemic, with a special focus on Brazil to also monitor responses at the state-level.


The Drought Monitor 



Initially developed for Brazil’s Northeast Region under the Bank’s Technical Assistance to the Ministry of National Integration, Drought Preparedness and Climate Resilience, the Drought Monitor has been further developed and strengthened by the National Water Agency (ANA) and State partners, resulting in  increased coverage from the original nine Northeastern states to eighteen Brazilian states.  The Monitor is a semifinalist at the Global Water Partnership’s (GWP) international Water Change Maker Awards. The main objective of the Technical Assistance was to help stakeholders in Brazil (both at the national level and more specifically in the Northeast region) develop and institutionalize proactive approaches to drought events, with an ancillary benefit of developing tools, frameworks, processes and exchange platforms from which other countries and World Bank sectors/regions could learn and foster innovation.


Dialogues for the improvement of the Water Resources Policy and System in Brazil 



The study contributed to the strengthening of the National Water Resources Policy (PNRH) and the National Water Resources Management System (SINGREH) so that they can provide more effective responses to Brazilian society considering problems faced by the water resources sector.


Wastewater: From Waste to Resource - Brazil


As part of the initiative - “From Waste to Resource: Shifting Paradigms for Smarter Wastewater Interventions”, the PRODES case study in Brazil shows how results-based financing was used to increase wastewater coverage and improve water quality. The program has effectively leveraged private financing and improved management and efficiency in the sanitation sector in Brazil.

Case Study—SISAR Ceará, Brazil



SISAR, an association of community-based service providers, was established in the Brazilian state of Ceará to provide access to water in rural locations.  A case study on the program was included in a broader global study on WSS Utility Aggregation to provide evidence-based guidance on how water and sanitation utilities can work together to successfully deliver specific policy outcomes. Sustainability Assessment of Rural Water Service Delivery Models also covered SISAR Ceará in its case studies.


Water Series Publications (Serie Agua) 



Since the launch of its first volume in 2003, Série Água Brasil has published 13 volumes covering the current topics and key issues in Brazil’s water resources agenda.


SIASAR – Rural Water and Sanitation Information System 



A basic, updated and comparable information tool on rural water supply and sanitation services in a dozen Latin American countries, including Brazil.


And more

Other ongoing engagements include supporting the “Utility of the Future” methodology applied to Brazilian utilities, supporting the National Water Agency in strengthening its capacity in implementing the new “Saneamento” law, and the study on Policies, Institutions and Regulatio for the WSS sector.



Building Partnerships

The Key Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Brazil’s Response to COVID-19


The World Bank, UNICEF and SIWI jointly released the technical paper, "The Key Role of WASH in Brazil’s Response to COVID-19," which analyzes the actions implemented in Brazil and provides recommendations for a more effective WASH response to the COVID-19 crisis. The joint study found that children and adolescents are among the invisible victims of Brazil's lack of investment in water and sanitation infrastructure. Without safe water supply at home and in schools, the youth struggle to follow hand-washing guidance on how to prevent COVID-19 and other diseases. 

Learn more: Feature Story/ Infographic

2030 Water Resources Group 



The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG), a public-private-civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank Group and created to help governments accelerate reforms for sustainable water resources management, works in São Paulo on stakeholder consultation, establishing working groups, organizing seminars and workshops, producing reports and proposals, and more.


South-South Knowledge Exchange 


Knowledge Exchanges on Integrated Urban Water Management

In June 2018, country representatives and Bank staff from Ethiopia, Ghana and Indonesia visited the two Brazilian cities of São Paulo and Teresina to learn about the country's best practices on integrated urban water management.

Strengthening the Water Sector Reform Process in Nigeria

In May 2019, two Nigerian delegations of federal and state officials visited Brazil and Colombia to obtain firsthand information from water-sector practitioners who had successfully conducted reforms. Brazil, which shares a similar decentralized federal system of government with Nigeria, has faced many of the same water sector challenges, including rapid urbanization and large-scale water sector inefficiencies.

Dam Safety in Brazil 



A collaboration between the World Bank and ANA providing technical assistance to ANA in its role under the National Dam Safety Policy Law was approved in 2010. The technical assistance produced manuals, guidelines and other technical documents providing best international practices on dam safety applied to the Brazilian context.