Rio’s Heat Wave Causes Water Use Spike Ahead of Carnival

Heightened water demand from tourists to Rio de Janeiro plus a heat wave the first days of 2014 have disrupted some residents’ supplies ahead of Carnival.

The tourism influx over New Year’s caused water usage in some southern areas that include Ipanema and Copacabana to be three times higher than the historic year-end average, said the press office of Rio state’s water utility Cia. Estadual de Aguas & Esgotos, or Cedae. That resulted in “irregular” supplies in West and North zones such as Jacarepagua.

Water demand tripled last year at the same time in the same areas yet subsided after New Year’s, according to the press office. Water use has remained high now amid sweltering temperatures in the first week of January. The city of Rio’s operations center said on Jan. 3 the temperature in Jacarepagua with a lack of wind felt as though it were 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit).

Rio received 767,000 tourists for New Year’s compared with 752,000 last year, according to the city tourism office. It’s expecting about 918,000 visitors for its annual Carnival parade and festivities, which take place the first week of March.

Cedae said areas suffering from disrupted service included those at higher elevations because demand reduced the pressure to pump water to homes.

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