Guaraní Aquifer

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The Guaraní Aquifer in South America is "shared by all four nations" in the Mercosur free trade alliance: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. [1]

An "underground water reservoir" formed by a "group of sandy rocks below the soils' level with water in its pores and fissures" [2], it is the "largest aquifer in South America," extending "over 1.2 million square kilometres in Brazil alone—equal to the areas of England, France, and Spain combined" and "already supplies some 15 million people in the region. Best estimates show that the Guarani contains enough water to supply 360 million people on a sustainable basis. Already, some 500 cities and towns across Brazil draw their water from the Guarani," according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. [3]

"The aquifer underlies nearly 20% of Paraguay, covering a vast landscape of 72,000 square kilometers in the southeastern portion of the country." [4]

"Uncontrolled exploitation could reduce it from a strategic water reserve to a degraded resource that is a focus of conflict in the region," the IAEA writes. "This is the principal challenge being undertaken by the four national governments together with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a funding consortium jointly managed" by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Agency for Environment (UNEP), and the World Bank. [5]

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