São Paulo

Our Work in São Paulo

Our Role

The 2030 WRG started its work in Brazil in 2017, when it signed an MoU with the former State Department of Water Resources and Sanitation. This MoU formally established a partnership to promote dialogue, collaboration, and private sector participation on water resources management and water security in the country. This department was recently restructured by the new State Government (2019-2022) into the State Department for Infrastructure and Environment. Despite changes in high-level positions, the 2030 WRG Country Coordinator ensured continued collaboration with key actors in the state institutional management framework for environment, water resources, and sanitation, thus keeping the MoU terms fully operational.

The 2030 WRG Brazil is based in São Paulo and focuses on the state’s water and sanitation challenges. Brazil, and especially São Paulo, count on very structured and institutionalized Multi-Stakeholder Platforms for water and environmental management. The 2030 WRG has convened key actors of public and advisory institutions within this framework, as well as private sector and civil society representatives, to promote cross-sector discussions on water management policies and to integrate working groups for developing and implementing strategic actions – studies, plans, projects, programs, regulations, and public-private enterprises – to help improve water quality and water security in the state.

In May 2019, the 2030 WRG Brazil/São Paulo country coordinator was invited to join the Steering Council of São Paulo’s State Department of Infrastructure and Environment and of the Urban Policy Council of the Commercial Association of São Paulo. Joining this committee complements the work already being done through the working groups.


  • Regional study on industrial reuse of domestic wastewater: During the 2019 fiscal year, we worked with the Piracicaba, Capivari, and Jundiaí [rivers] (PCJ) State Basin Committee and Agency to develop detailed terms of reference for a regional study on the potentialities for direct industrial reuse of final (treated) effluents from public wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the PCJ basins. The assessment will be contracted by the PCJ Agency and supervised by the Committee’s Chamber for Water Use and Conservation in Industry, with the 2030 WRG’s support.
  • State regulation on water reuse for urban purposes: In 2017, we convened public and private sanitation companies to propose changes and adjustments to state regulation on water reuse for urban purposes, in face of the inadequacy of some technical and monitoring requirements considered by sector representatives as obstacles to investments in wastewater reuse. Keeping the advocacy with the state environmental and health regulatory agencies guaranteed the analysis and acceptance of the suggestions, which will be officially approved through issuing of a regulation.
  • Making the business case for industrial wastewater treatment and reuse: We wrote an article setting out the business case for treating and reusing effluent to reduce demand and ensure future water supply for industrial operations in São Paulo State. It was published in the prominent business journal, Jornal Valor Econômico, in April 2019.
  • Bringing a hidden creek back to city life: We worked together with the São Paulo City Hall, Sabesp, and community leaders to develop a preliminary proposal for the revitalization of a segment of the Anhanguera creek in downtown São Paulo (Vila Buarque Square). Now, we are seeking funding to develop and execute the project.
  • Discussing technical criteria for defining prices for charging for water use: The current charging prices paid by water users in Brazil and in the São Paulo State for raw water catchment and effluent discharge grants are undervalued, particularly under water stress conditions, and do not meet the objectives of such instrument as stated by national and state regulations. Following the guidelines already developed by the Water Global Practice/Brazil, we initiated discussions with sector specialists and prepared a preliminary work plan to assess technical criteria and methodology guidelines to support the River Basin Committees when discussing and defining the prices for charging for water use. We intend to directly contract a consultant to develop this study and help to facilitate sector debates on the issue.
  • Optimizing wastewater treatment plants: In March 2019, we organized with Sabesp, the state sanitation utility, a five-day workshop to assess possibilities for performance optimization and introduction of circular economy processes in the São Paulo metropolitan area’s WWTPs. The workshop gathered the expertise of Sabesp’s Metropolitan Superintendence team and of an international specialist brought by the 2030 WRG. The success of this workshop motivated Sabesp and the 2030 WRG to organize another workshop in July 2019, aimed at structuring an auditing process methodology and an investment action plan for optimizing the performance of the Barueri WWTP, one of the largest sewage treatment facilities in Latin America.
  • Corporate Governance and Water Security workshop: In April 2019, we presented the keynote speech at a workshop titled “Corporate Governance and Water Security: Scarcity, Risk, and Corporate Strategies.” The workshop was organized by the Business Council for Sustainable Development Brazil and Ecolab, with inputs from the 2030 WRG.

Our Future

The workstreams will continue supporting the development of projects by convening various stakeholder consultations and workshops on a factual basis.