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World Water Day is marked by new Vale Institute of Technology (ITV) project

Last March 22nd was the Water Day. The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), in partnership with Vale, took advantage of this date to talk about a research project designed to improve water management carried out by the Vale Institute of Technology (ITV), called Monitoring of Critical Events in Water Basins Where Vale Operates. 

In several stages, research is being conducted in different fields related to hydrology, helping improve understanding of water-related risks in river basins in mining regions. The Itacaiúnas River Basin, which contains Vale’s mines in northern Brazil and the Amazon Rainforest’s “Arc of Deforestation,” is one of the areas studied in the project. 

The Itacaiúnas River Basin covers 41,300 square kilometers, around as large as Denmark or Switzerland. It has lost approximately 50% of its natural forest cover since 1980. Today, roughly a third of the basin consists of a mosaic of protected areas, monitored by the Chico Mendes institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) with our support. Our operations use about 1% of the mosaic’s area. The mining sector is the biggest water user in the basin, accounting for 70% of estimated water use, followed by livestock farming, domestic use and crop farming. Despite this, overall, supply exceeds demand. However, due to climate change, more torrential rains, floods and droughts are expected in the coming years. Such extreme weather events could cause conflicts in water use, scarcity and impacts on infrastructure. As a result, it is necessary to understand how changes in weather and land use may influence water resources. This ITV project involves evaluating water scarcity indicators, assessing the vulnerability of springs and mapping flooded areas in the basin to identify the most vulnerable areas. 

The project is part of a broader research initiative called “Mitigation of Impacts Related to Water Resources,” which in turn is part of the Environment phase of ITV’s “Innovation and Technological Development Management” area. 

To learn more, see the file here

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