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Despite considerable efforts there are still numerous areas in Guarapiranga where slum upgrading, sanitation services and protection of waterways is required. Image: Christopher Horwood

water and sanitation, while taking into account local specificities and using appropriate technologies that are in line with users’ ability to pay.94 The same year, he announced a new Programme for the Acceleration of Growth (PAC), which would invest more than US $235 billion dollars in highways, airports, seaports, energy, and housing, water and sewage supplies between 2007 and 2010 to benefit poor Brazilians. Another mechanism to reduce unequal access to water and sewage is the use of different, progressive tariff levels and subsidies. Water and sanitation tariffs in many Brazilian cities are relatively high compared to the Latin American average. According to a 2005 study,95 the typical monthly residential water bill for con-

...significant subsidies are available to poor households to help offset costs. sumption of 20 cubic metres per month was equivalent to US $17 in São Paulo state, US $15 in the central-eastern state of Espírito Santo and US $10 in the north-central state of Pernambuco, compared with an average of US $11 among the 21 Latin American cities covered in the analysis. In poor households, where the marginal utility of income is high, these differences are significant and they contribute to a widening of the urban divide. Tariffs have been steadily rising slightly above inflation in recent years, but significant subsi-

dies are available to poor households to help offset costs. In most parts of Brazil, a low social tariff applies to the first set quantity of essential of consumption. In some cases, a minimum consumption fee applies to all residential connections, and sometimes to commercial and institutional connections. Such subsidies benefit many who are not poor, and efforts have been made to target subsidies more effectively. To avoid subsidizing households that could contribute more toward the cost of water provision, some state water companies have improved the targeting of their social tariffs by using the cadastres established for the Bolsa Familia Conditional Cash Transfer Programme. A common indicator of the efficiency of water utilities is the level of non-revenue water (NRW): water provided but not paid for in any given area. NRW can be attributed to poor infrastructure, theft or faulty metering issues — anything that diverts the water supply before it reaches legitimate clients. In Brazil, the level of NRW varies between 21 per cent and 81 per cent, reflecting huge differences in the efficiency of water systems among service providers.96 The average level of NRW in Brazil in 2006 was 39.8 per cent, and was roughly the same for state and municipal public water companies. Clearly, theft or unregulated tapping into the water supply is part of NRW and is common practice in favelas and other informal settlements. Critics have suggested that part of the government’s incentive to urbanize and regularize favelas in São Paulo is to start charging residents for water and electricity, both of

Profile for UN-Habitat

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Sao Paulo; A tale of two cities  

UN-HABITAT’s new Cities and Citizens series examines urban inequality in the developing world through in-depth analysis of intracity data de...

Profile for unhabitat
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