Noronha under a dry spell

by Jan Ligthart

Fernando de Noronha17 March 2013 - The Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha is lucky to have four desalination plants. The island, a nature reserve that attracts thousands of visitors each year, has not seen a drop of rain since June 2013. Now the islanders and tourists have to make do with what little the exhausted fresh water spring offers them. And the four desalination facilities.

Fernando de Noronha has not seen a severe drought like this in 50 years. Although dry spells are common for the island, this one has hit home hard. The local authorities have resorted to water rationing. The territory has been sectioned off in eight districts that only get supplies of desalted seawater once every nine days.

The drought is not restricted to the islands but also has its effect on the mainland: more than 142 cities across Brazil have rationed water in what is an extreme dry and hot summer. It is estimated that half a million cattle has died because of the drought and yields of the huge Brazilian coffee crop will also be affected.