Rio de Janeiro, Aug 23 (EFE).- Brazil, the world’s main water reserve, has lost over three million hectares of its water surface area in 30 years, MapBiomas reported Monday.
From 1991 to 2020, the freshwater area in Brazil decreased from 19.7 million hectares to 16.6 million hectares, representing a 15.7% drop. It is an area equivalent to the size of Belgium.
MapBiomas researchers collected the data from satellite images between 1985 and 2020.
Brazil accounts for 12% of the planet’s freshwater reserves and 53% of South America’s water resources.
But with climate change, deforestation and the construction of hydroelectric dams among other human activities, Brazil is drying up and water loss has been detected in 8 of its 12 hydrographic regions.
The biggest loss has been recorded in the Pantanal region, the world’s largest tropical wetland, which has reduced by an alarming 77%.
The wetland, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its vast flora and fauna biodiversity, extends through Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.
Some 60% of its 250,000 square kilometers is on Brazilian territory.
The Amazon region in Brazil has also lost 16.3% of its water surface, which was reduced from 11.9 million hectares in 1999 to 10 million hectares in 2020.
The rainforest’s Negro River recorded the highest loss of water surface area with a 22% reduction.EFE