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+ 2 million people

supplied with drinking water

4,7 thousand

liters of water treated per second

6 months

ahead of schedule project delivery

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The challenge

Imagine opening the faucet at you house and not finding running water to wash your dishes or cook to your family? Now, how about a hot summer day in a tropical country and no running water at your shower after a long day of work? This was, for some time, the reality for over 2 million people living in the metropolitan region of São Paulo during a rough water crisis.


    Back in 2015, a strong water crisis has hit São Paulo. The decrease of rainfall indexes impacted the operation of several power plants, reducing – in some occasion to complete draught – the water stored volume in water supply systems of some cities surrounding the Latin America largest city.

The solution

The lack of rain, climate change, old management systems, legacy assets and investments constrains don't cope with enabling a resilience water system. During the water crisis, population was forced to cope with several restrictive measures and new solutions were needed.


    Sabesp - one of the largest sanitation companies in the world and responsible for the sewage collection and water supply & treatment in 375 municipalities in the State of São Paulo, delivering services to over 28 million people - chose Arcadis to support the implementation of a new Water Production System – São Lourenço. With that, the aim was to reduce the dependence of the Cantareira System (already supplying water to 5.3 million people at the time), guaranteeing water availability despite of nature/rainfall.


    The client quick reaction to the implementation, supported by Arcadis, was crucial to keep up the service and water delivery.


    For over four years, Arcadis gathered the best experienced Team in Water to work, delivering on time from Conceptual to Detailed Design and site construction supervision to project. The system started its operation 6 months ahead of schedule.

The impact

After implementation, over 2 million people will benefit. More than opening a faucet and finding reliable water, the São Lourenço Production system has improved the daily lives of citizens that have struggled with restrictive measures, water rationing and all emotional matters related to it. The question: will there be water available at home tonight, was no longer an issue.


    The supply of quality water, continuously, sustainably and with operational efficiency was – and still is being – met. The project has also enabled Sabesp to better identify estimated demand - ensuring regular supply in a sustainable manner – and to plan the increase of its operation and investment needs based on future demand.

Used capabilities

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