Brazil lost 15% of freshwater areas in the last 30 years

Posted in: 08/31/2021

A survey conducted by MapBiomas revealed that Brazil has lost 15.7% of its water resources in the last 30 years. Using satellite images, researchers analyzed the national territory between 1985 and 2020, and identified the growing loss of freshwater surface in all biomes and hydrographic regions of the country.

According to the mapping, the 3.1 million hectares lost in three decades would be equivalent to “almost double the water surface of the entire northeastern region in 2020”. The excessive use of water resources, climate change, deforestation and the construction of dams and hydroelectric plants would have been the main causes for the disappearance of available freshwater areas.

The Pantanal was the biome that experienced the greatest water loss, with a 68% reduction in its water coverage. The biome has been suffering from intense burning, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, which have increased as a result of climate change and a relaxation of enforcement measures in the area.

The Caatinga was in second place, with a 17.5% reduction in water coverage. It is important to note that the Caatinga was the Brazilian biome that had the most fires in 2021, with the highest number of fires in the last nine years.

Completing the list are the Amazon, with a 10.4% reduction in water surface area, the Atlantic Forest, with 1.4% less, the Cerrado, with 1.3% less, and the Pampa, with a 0.5% reduction.

Also according to the mapping, 23 states had their water surface area decrease between 1990 and 2020. Roraima and Mato Grosso reached a 50% reduction. Mato Grosso do Sul was the state with the greatest absolute and relative loss of water (57%) in the 36-year historical series, from 1985 to 2020.

For the researchers, although the data are alarming, it is still possible to reverse this scenario. Having knowledge of the problems is extremely important to base the creation of policies and management of water resources capable of stopping degradation. For the MapBiomas team, a large part of the solution would be related to solving the problems that cause global warming and climate change.


We have selected the main news on the subject. Check it out!  

Brazil lost 15% of its freshwater areas in three decades

Brazil lost 15% of its water resources in 30 years, a loss of almost twice the water surface of the entire Northeast

Brazil lost 15% of its water surface area in 30 years; see the numbers

Brazil has lost 15% of its water surface area since the early 1990s

Keep up

Learn more about Synergia

Sign up and receive our news.

    Synergia is concerned about the use of your personal data and these will be kept secure and confidential, in accordance with the General Data Protection Law (LGPD). For more information, see our privacy statement.