Storms Knock Out Power, Water Supply to More Than 300,000 in Brazil

January 27, 2015

More than 300,000 people in Brazil’s biggest city were without water Friday, more than 24 hours after thunderstorms knocked out electricity to two pumping stations, the Sao Paulo state water utility said.

The water company known as Sabesp said the lack of power after Thursday’s storms initially left 1.2 million people in Sao Paulo and five outlying districts without water, but that number was reduced when the pumping stations began working again.

Sabesp said 350,000 people in a district where it took longer to restore energy remained without water early Friday.

“Operations are expected to be normalized within the next several hours,” Sabesp said in a statement.

Recent downpours have not replenished the reservoirs hit by the worst drought in more than 80 years.

Sabesp said on its website that the Cantareira water system, the largest of six reservoirs providing water to some 6 million of the 20 million people living in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo city, is down to 5.3 percent of its capacity of 264 billion gallons (1 trillion liters).

The storms also caused landslides and flooding that blocked parts of the main highway between Sao Paulo and the port city of Santos for several hours.

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