• Capabilities: Water Supply and Treatment, Business Advisory
  • Sectors: Water and Utilities

Tietê River Project

São Paulo, Brazil - For centuries Rio Tietê in São Paulo facilitated trade, exploration and leisure activities. These activities were ultimately banned due to pollution in the river, mostly as a result of industrial waste. In the 1990's the state embarked on an ambitious river clean-up project.

100%

Sewage collection at completion

19 million

lives improved through sewage collection

The majority of the decline of the health and quality of the river occurred between 1940 and 1970 during a period of rapid urbanization and industrialization. Most of the waste from industries and sewage was conveyed into the Rio Tietê at a rate of approximately 134 tons per day. Population growth in São Paulo also led to illegal occupation of land and a subsequent increase in the amount of untreated sewage finding its way into the river.

NGOs and the media joined a nationally-led social campaign to clean up the river in the early 1990s. A petition attracted 1.2 million signatures, prompting the launch of Projeto Rio Tietê by the São Paulo State Government to clean up the river. Set into four stages over 25 years, the total investment is a projected $5 billion USD. Once complete, the infrastructure will be able to safely treat the sewage generated by 19 million residents and significantly improve the health and quality of the river. 

Since the first stage of the project, Arcadis has been the consultant and technical advisor to the company behind the project, Sabesp (São Paulo State Sanitation Company). Now in the third stage, as head of the consortium, Arcadis is helping Sabesp deliver the infrastructure to improve the quality of the water by connecting an additional 200,000 households to the sewer system and increasing the volume of sewage treated from 66% to 84%. 

Projeto Rio Tietê has successfully endured through a backdrop of hyperinflation, financial crises and changes in the political landscape. Sabesp is now planning the fourth stage of the project which aims to increase sewage collection of 19 million inhabitants to 100% by 2024. Projeto Rio Tietê is a vital step for improving the quality of life in for every resident in the city and sets the stage for a sustainable future.

Outcomes

100%

Sewage collection at completion

19 million

lives improved through sewage collection

200,000

additional households added in stage III