A POLÍTICA NACIONAL DE RECURSOS HÍDRICOS E AS ÁGUAS SUBTERRÂNEAS
Fresh water is not, of course, just like petroleum: it is a much more valuable resource human and most of the life cannot exist without it. The paradox is that we value such a valuable resource so little, mostly when it is a hidden resource like groundwater. However, there are no technological limitations to reaching the deeper and confined aquifers in Brazil and in their major cities several thousands of private uncontrolled wells are used to supply industries, hotels, hospitals and private joint ownerships, mainly. Moreover, for much of the country groundwater may be also important as a source for livestock, base flows to rivers, and in contributing to surface water reservoirs, wetland water balance and ecology. Since the Federal Constitution of 1988, at least, water resource management is an important and complex area of governmental resource management and environmental policies. Unfortunately, when water resource problems occur governments often respond by assigning the problems to administrative organisations insufficiently equipped to cope with them. This situation occurs because, while the problems have multiple and interdependent causes, most of the organisations facing these challenges tend to be fragmented, working with a close decision process. Moreover, water laws, such as the Federal law 9.433/97, are often inadequate, confusing or difficult to apply and the managers have to developed specific strategies to deal with the high level of uncertainty in groundwater management: in particullar, additional information needs to be acquired to reduce uncertainty, but at the same time cost-effective action is needed to avoid the possibility of future degradation of groundwater resources. Finally, there is the problem of informing and educating the public and the decision makers: it is necessary to find appropriate ways and means of disseminating information and popularizing understanding of the nature of this hidden resource.