Water Charges in Brazil

The Ways Forward

image of Water Charges in Brazil

This report examines the current system of water abstraction and pollution charges in operation in Brazil. It assesses the current system’s implementation challenges and provides possible solutions. The report explores how water charges can be both an effective means for dealing with water security issues, and a tool for enhancing economic growth and social welfare. Specific analysis is put forward for three case studies in the State of Rio de Janiero, the Paraiba do Sul River Basin and the Piancó-Piranhas-Açu River Basin. The report highlights that water charges need to operate in conjunction with an effective water regulatory regime and concludes with an Action Plan based on practical steps and recommendations for its implementation in the short, medium and long-term.


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Executive summary

A policy debate on water charges in Brazil is particularly timely and relevant for a number of environmental, economic and political reasons. The country is facing a range of water issues, from risks associated with too much, too little or too polluted water, to a challenging fiscal and political context. Strengthening water charges where they exist, and considering them where appropriate, could help to drive the necessary place-based actions to safeguard water quality and quantity (e.g. pollution and excessive abstraction) and to prevent water risks from becoming barriers to Brazil’s sustainable growth now and in the future. This report looks at why water charges can contribute to several current and long-term policy objectives in Brazil, and how water abstraction and pollution charges can work and deliver intended results. It outlines policy recommendations and provides a detailed action plan that identifies lead institutions that can implement actions over the short, medium and long term.

English Portuguese

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