Fresh water is among the most urgently needed daily necessities in northeast Brazil, where locals are suffering from a severe drought rarely seen in about 50 years.
Some areas in the drought-stricken northeast region have received no rain in more than one year. More than 400,000 households are facing fresh water shortage.
Water vendors have always been very popular among local residents in Marcolandia, a city in the state of Pernambuco, northeast Brazil. There is no fresh water supply system or water well in the city where people get water from tanks carried by donkeys.
“I have been selling water for more than 20 years. I buy water from a private water supply company located near the city,” said a water vendor named Sadaio.
“I usually buy 17,000 litres of water for 200 Brazilian reais (about $90). I keep the water in an underground impounding reservoir in my courtyard and then sell the water to the residents.”
In this city with a population of more than 10,000 people, there are more than 40 donkey-drawn water tanks. Sometimes people need to make a reservation with the vendors to get water due to the large demand.
“There are several water vendors near my house. I went to one vendor’s house just now, but he said he had no water for me today. I need 18 buckets of water, but I only got 14 buckets from five other vendors,” said a resident named Modesto.
But not everyone can afford to buy freshwater when they need it. Poor families have to turn to the free water provided by the government.
People crowded at the public impounding reservoirs during a fixed period of time in a day to get water, which would be all taken out within half an hour.