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Socioeconomic challenges

Minimizing water crises and hydro-social vulnerability

Water crises affect everyone, causing significant economic and ecological damages in both urban and rural areas, with a greater impact on the poorest. Alternatives are being sought for the production of high-quality water using low-cost techniques and minimal environmental impact.


Developing adaptive instruments for climate change

The water insecurity is common to many cities and agricultural activities and intensified by global climate change. The SACRE is leading the development of water acquisition and treatment methods, as well as integrated water resource management.


Understanding and mitigating the risks of extensive aquifer contamination

The urban groundwater is often contaminated by effluents from leaks in sewage networks and rudimentary and septic tanks, posing a risk to the health of millions of people. The objective of SACRE is to understand the problem and how nature could assist in remediating the contamination of groundwater and surface water in cities through low-cost solutions.


Identify emerging pollutants

Emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, hormones, antibiotics, and analgesics, food additives, microplastics, and nanomaterials) have been appearing more consistently in water resources in recent decades. SACRE is seeking a strategy for their identification and monitoring in aquifers.


Spread the importance of water resource management

The intensive and localized extraction of groundwater (overexploitation), exacerbated by the high irregularity of the sector (65% of wells are clandestine in the State of São Paulo), hampers water resource management. Users of irregular wells have limited access to water quality information, which increases risks to public health. SACRE aims to address the roots of this irregularity and proposes mechanisms of social communication for its reduction.


Promote the sustainable management of underground water resources

The management of groundwater resources, lacking investment, institutional arrangements, efficient coordination, and examples of good practices, is a characteristic of the sector, which suffers and causes society to miss opportunities to overcome various problems. The SACRE, by bringing together all institutions responsible for managing water resources in São Paulo, seeks to promote this leadership and create a proactive agenda for better governance of groundwater.


Scientific challenges

Developing low-cost remediation methods.

Extensive areas contaminated by multipoint sources (urban aquifers contaminated by sanitary systems) pose a technical challenge with feasible costs. Therefore, SACRE is actively seeking low-cost decontamination techniques for aquifers, utilizing natural methods and leveraging knowledge of aquifer geochemistry.


Enhancing water resilience through conjunctive use of water resources.

One of the contributions of SACRE is to adapt and apply techniques for the conjunctive use of surface water, groundwater, and aquifer recharge with treated effluents through Nature-based Solutions (NbS), within the concept of integrated water resources management.


Developing low-cost water collection systems.

The SACRE organization develops and adapts new low-cost groundwater capture systems that take advantage of SbN, managed aquifer recharge (MAR), and river-aquifer interaction (RBF) to enhance the water availability in urban areas and rural regions.


To base the creation of new institutional arrangements on governance

The SACRE aims to establish a new institutional arrangement that incorporates the use of multiple water sources and "private water producers," mechanisms for financial compensation for ecosystem services, and mechanisms that overcome the limitations of top-down Command and Control strategies and the invisibility of underground resources. This arrangement will enhance society's resilience to the growing water scarcity issues.

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