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  • View of part of the Cantareira reservoir, which supplies almost 6.5 million people in Brazil

    View of part of the Cantareira reservoir, which supplies almost 6.5 million people in Brazil's Sao Paulo metropolitan region with water. | Photo: EFE

Published 6 May 2015

An engineer for Sao Paulo state’s water company said that “scenes from the end of the world” would ensue if the city ran out of water.

The drought in the Brazilian metropolis of Sao Paulo has become so severe that local authorities are considering bringing in military personnel to cope with the possible social chaos.

With over 11 million residents, Sao Paulo is Brazil's most populous city and the country's economic center. But senior officials at Sao Paulo's water facility said residents might soon be evacuated because there is not enough water, to bathe or to clean homes.

The water crisis is the worst is the last 84 years, and the dry season has only just begun, with less water in the dams than in 2014, when restrictions on water began and the authorities began to realize the seriousness of the disaster.

Last week, a conference between academics, military employees and local councils to discuss how to handle the coming five months in the case that reserves run out, and the city might go up to five days without water.

Paulo Massato, engineer at the state water company, told the conference that water supplies could run out as early as July, if emergency works are not finished in time.

RELATED: Brazil Cities Cancel Carnivals Over Drought

Engineers are working to create infrastructure to connect various reservoirs, which, if completed, would mean that there would be enough water to last until October.

On being asked what would happen in the worst case scenario, with no rain and incomplete works, Massato replied, “It would be terrible. No would be no food, no would be no electricity … It would be a scene from the end of the world. There a thousands of people, and it could cause social chaos. It would not only be a problem of water shortage, it would be much more than that.”

Last year the smaller city of Itu suffered a similar drought, causing violent protests and looting.

“If a small city like Itu unleashed all of that in such a short time, imagine what could happen in a city like (Sao Paulo),” said Massato.

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