The Miringuava River basin is the main water source for São José dos Pinhais, including parts of Curitiba and other metropolitan municipalities. Around 230 thousand people, as well as industries and farmers, rely on the water provided by the basin. However, that could be compromised if the area does not receive conservation actions. To contribute with the water safety in the future and with the socioeconomic realities of the region, the Boticário Group Foundation has launched the Viva Água movement, which aims to raise awareness and mobilize society to care for the Miringuava basin.
The Viva Água movement also relies on a partnership with the Renault Institute and is looking for more support from the industry, commerce, public agencies and organized civil society to put in practice an improvement plan of natural infrastructure and business leverage with positive social and environmental impacts to the Miringuava River basin. “The movement is a strategic action to ensure long term water safety and promote an environmental and socioeconomic transformation to the basin region, benefiting all those who need that water for their activities, whether for health and well-being or for economic reasons,” said Miguel Krigsner, President of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the Boticário Group Foundation.
Water is essential for countless productive processes, making it highly important that industries take part in initiatives that aim for the water safety of the communities where they reside. Sergio Sampaio, Operations Director at the Boticário Group, notes that the company has mapped what would be the impacts of water shortages. “We know the real value of water to the company. That is why we have rigorous targets for reusing and reducing – in the last three years we have decreased consumption by 22%. Having such data visibility shows us that investing in projects such as Viva Água is vital for maintaining our business.”
Faced with the vital role of water resources in all of society, the Viva Água movement will invest BRL 1.5 million in the first 18 months of the project. The expectation is for BRL 6 million to be directed into leveraging conservation and restoration strategies in the next 5 years.
To widen the impact of the initiative, the movement will also focus its efforts into gathering partners in the region. “We want to show actors in different industries that their businesses and the population rely on services provided by nature. With that awareness, we hope that, more than working in increasing levels of internal eco-efficiency, they also become aligned with water conservation actions in the source, looking outside their companies,” said Artur Grynbaum, Presiding Director of the Boticário Group Foundation.
The Miringuava River basin
Among the problems found in the Miringuava River water basin are issues such as water shortage and large amounts of sediments in rivers. In 2018, during a dry period, several wells went dry and farmers in the region increased rationing water. In periods of intense rain, such as the one experienced late May, the amount of sediments in the river increases, and may limit water availability and overwhelm the treatment system, with possible raises in water treatment cost and times.
Due to the importance of the Miringuava river basin in supplying the region, a reservoir is being built in the area to ensure a continuous supply of water. The new reservoir is an investment by Sanepar, who already owns a Water Treatment Station on the basin. “The Miringuava River is one of the most important rivers in São José dos Pinhais, whether due to the biodiversity around it; whether due to its economic importance for farmers, rural tourism, and industry; and whether due to the supply of water for our city and soon to neighboring cities, considering the dam under construction,” stated Toninho Fenelon, the mayor of São José dos Pinhais.
However, with no processes to restore and conserve the natural heritage in the region, the basin's water availability and the quality of the water that gets to treatment will continue to be compromised. “Several permanent preservation areas have been degraded at the Miringuava basin, and the character of soil use and occupation in the region contribute to increasing the amount of sediments and pollutants in the basin's water bodies. Preserving and recovering the native vegetation, as well as adopting best practices of soil use, can contribute to improving this scenario,” explains Malu Nunes, CEO of the Boticário Group Foundation. Other than restoring and conserving, the movement intends to encourage sustainable farming and rural tourism in the region.