In November 2017, about a thousand small farmers, cowboys and their families got on buses and headed to the Rio Claro farm, owned by Lavoura e Pecuária Igarashi, one of many companies using large-scale irrigation in Brazil’s Bahia state. They blamed the farm for the degradation of the Arrojado River, which supplies water to their lands in Correntina municipality, 830 kilometers (515 miles) from the state capital, Salvador. The confrontation turned violent as the small farmers, campesinos, destroyed equipment on the farm, making headlines in the country’s main newspapers. It also sparked an offensive against the campesinos in Congress by the so-called ruralist caucus, staunch defenders of agribusiness interests. But the politicians did not expect the local population to push back. On Nov. 13 that year, more than 11,000 people took to the streets of Correntina to defend the rivers and the Cerrado grassland ecosystem that makes up much of the state. In the more than three years since then, the government has still not responded to the demands of the movement known as the “Water Uprising.” In August 2020, the Bahia Institute of Environment and Water Resources renewed Igarashi’s water-use license. This allows the company to collect more than 176 million liters (46 million gallons) of water a day from the Arrojado River for the next four years to irrigate the farm at the heart of the popular uprising. This concession alone is equivalent to almost 60 times the water consumption of Correntina’s population. Irrigation channel supplying the central…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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