Friday, July 4, 2014

A trickle runs through it - Piracicaba

Rocks once covered by a huge rushing river

I am spending a couple of days in Piracicaba, a medium-sized town outside of São Paulo. I have blogged on it last year. The crown jewel of Piracicaba is its huge river--fast moving with a rocky bed covered with water. Or not.

A beautiful old building with three aquariums and tubed-in water rushing over the window
 Yesterday I went with my sister-in-law and our combined three kids to the Museu de Agua or Water Museum. It's a tiny place, with no real explanation of what goes on in terms of treatment and pumps and whatever. The tiny pump house was practically taken over with three huge intake or outtake or missile tubes. It was hard to know. And some black and white photos of the good old days. Piracicaba has quite a history of firsts, including water treatment technology.

First city with water tubes. I am really good at water terminology translations

The Museum now consists of two buildings--the pump station and a building that houses three large aquarium tanks (well, three foot long tanks--I am wondering what happens when one of the fish in there reaches its predicted length of 6 feet. On second thought, I'd rather not think about it). Water rushes in a man-made falls at the side of this building, and under your feet covered by a somewhat sketchy metal grill.

On the bright side, it's quite pretty not covered by water.

One of the best features of the museum is its view of the river. Or what was the river. There is a beautiful part of the river that rushes over a rock bed, splashing and jumping and zooming downhill. But not today. It is all dry. Instead, there is a tiny trickle on the far side, and a few lost-looking herons picking about looking for fish. I hope they found some.

After the museum, we went to the park where we played soccer on crunchy grass. The current drought is ugly. Yesterday there was finally an article in the newspaper that spelled out disaster. We are now trolling the "dead volume" of all of the water reservoirs in the São Paulo area. And its disappearing faster than expected because people are not taking this seriously enough. We are not going to have enough to through to September and some more rains. And of course this has a name: El Niño. I almost hate when this term comes up--it has another name which is Bad Planning. We are not prepared for drought in this state--there are too many people and not enough supply.

I miss the river. Hope it comes back soon.

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