WIT Press

Water Resources Management: Suggestions To The Brazilian Model Based On The American Experience


Free (open access)





Page Range

39 - 50




383 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


L. B. E. Veiga & A. Magrini


Continuous population growth, increasing industrialization and expanding irrigated agriculture are all placing a strain on scarce water supplies, including serious depletion of aquifers. To address this reality, in Brazil Law 9433, enacted in 1997, established the National Water Resources Policy and created the National Water Resource Management System, introducing a new integrated approach to environmental management policies through the application of economic-based instruments. This law defined the hydrographic basin as the unit of planning, considering multiple water uses, and introduced many changes at the institutional and policy instruments levels. However, nearly fourteen years after the enactment of this law, instead of integrated management and planning as originally envisioned, in many respects Brazil has returned to a strictly command and control approach. Evidence of this trend is the process of revising the rules on water quality standards and pollutant discharge limits by the federal environmental agency (CONAMA Resolution 357/2005). This process resulted in CONAMA Resolution 396/2008, which despite many criticisms maintained fixed limits for pollutant discharges, thus making no distinction between these discharges according to the related polluting activity or technology, or the carrying capacity of the natural water body. The wisest course would have been to base the revision on the international water management experience. This article aims to contribute to this effort, by analyzing the case of the United States, which can provide valuable insight in terms of defining water quality standards and effluent discharge limits based on control technologies and industrial typologies. Some of the main water pollution


water resources management, water quality, effluent discharges, Brazil, United States