Responsible for supplying Lake Paranoá, in Brasília, Serrinha do Paranoá, located between the Varjão and Paranoá administrative regions, is the target of pressure from real estate speculation for the construction of new projects.
“When the state omits its role in organizing the territory, the consequence is usually a huge pressure of land grabbing and irregular subdivisions”, declares Lúcia Mendes, president of the Preserva Serrinha Association, stating that this is the situation that occurs there .
The region is sensitive due to the presence of important watercourses that are part of the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of the Central Plateau: there are more than 100 springs spread across the Cerrado vegetation cover.
:: Defenders of Serrinha do Paranoá question real estate speculation that threatens the preservation of springs ::
Composed of the rural centers of Boa Esperança, Olhos D’Água, Urubu, Jerivá, Torto, Bananal, Palha, Taquari, Tamanduá and Capoeira do Bálsamo, Serrinha also houses the sub-basins of Lake Paranoá and Ribeirão do Torto.
To fight against sealing and in defense of the region’s waters, organized civil society resists.
In 2016, the Guardians of the Springs Project was organized by the Instituto Oca do Sol, in the context of the Águas Project, when the community of Serrinha do Paranoá was mobilized to map springs in their territory, in partnership with the Lago Norte Regional Administration.
In 2022, a community initiative between residents of the Serrinha region and members of Escola da Árvore created “Save the biodiversity of Serrinha do Paranoá”, on the iNaturalist platform, which collects data on biodiversity.
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To date, 4,632 observations have been made and 1,143 species identified. The result can be seen on the project website.
In the same year, the research project ‘Brasília Sensitive to Water’, linked to the Postgraduate Course in Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Brasília (UnB), published the notebook “Serrinha do Paranoá Sensitive to Water”, with studies and systematizations on the reality of the place. Check out the Preserva Serrinha website.
A study carried out at the Bee Laboratory at the same university identified the presence of native bees in the region.
“It was observed that the areas that were the focus of vegetation suppression by the para-governmental project and with a lower proportion of urbanization present greater species richness than the most altered areas”, points out the survey.
Research also indicates that urbanization can lead to the extinction of species present there. “The current urbanization project with the suppression of vegetation and fauna in these areas will potentially lead to the local extinction of species present in Serrinha do Paranoá.”
Another study by UnB, coordinated by geophysics professor José Vicente Bernardi, carried out in Serrinha do Paranoá, pointed out that the region could be harmed by the works planned to be carried out there – and which should also cause an increase in traffic.
At the beginning of August this year, the Legislative Chamber of the Federal District (CLDF) hosted the launch of the Parliamentary Front in Defense of Serrinha do Paranoá, with the presence of several representatives and defenders from the region, including the president of the Human Rights Commission, Fábio Félix.
The initiative marks “the beginning of a joint effort to protect the area’s environment”, highlighted the deputy.
According to Fábio, the Government of the Federal District (GDF) needs to rethink the land issue and real estate speculation. He highlighted that economic interests have driven the exploration of different areas, often neglecting technical considerations.
In March 2022, the then district deputy Leandro Grass sent a letter to the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the Defense of the Urban Order of the MPDFT talking about irregularities in the request made by the Companhia Imobiliária de Brasília (Terracap) for the suppression of native vegetation in the area in which it is located. the second stage of the Taquari Housing Sector is being implemented.
The MPDFT, in turn, recommended to Terracap and Ibram that the implementation of the work be suspended.
Lúcia Mendes, who is also coordinator of the DF Water Defense Forum, spoke to Brasil de Fato about the subject. Read the full interview:
Why is Serrinha do Paranoá susceptible to real estate speculation?
The Serrinha region was to be conserved as a green corridor for food production and conservation of the Cerrado. However, since the 2009 Organizational and Territorial Master Plan, some sections of this area have been defined as “urban expansion”.
At that time, they still admitted the permanence of areas with rural characteristics. And that would have, through legislation, the priority of regularization to maintain this format.
But this regularization was not carried out. And when the state fails to fulfill its role in organizing the territory, the consequence is usually a huge pressure of land grabbing and irregular subdivisions. It’s something that has been happening out of control here in Serrinha.
This pressure increased when the public consultation also came in 2022 on the construction of the third bridge, the last bridge here in Lago Norte, which would be to enable access to the Sobradinho region, passing here through the Núcleo Rural do Palha and going up there. to Sobradinho. But in reality it is to give access to the Taquari Housing Sector.
And how can real estate projects affect Serrinha?
These real estate projects and land subdivision, that is, land grabbing and action by the GDF itself, are things that deeply threaten life here in Serrinha.
And it’s not just in Serrinha, because as of 2016, more than a hundred springs were identified here. In 2019, when the Ecological Economic Zoning study was carried out, areas of geological risk were identified, such as the loss of native Cerrado, the risk of soil contamination and the risk of aquifer recharge areas.
We also managed to access some studies by UNB professors who identified the number of native melipona bees here in Serrinha, which is an endangered species. Furthermore, it was identified that the installation of Taquari I, the one close to Colorado, impacted the flow level of all streams in Serrinha.
Does the construction of projects and the consequent sealing of the soil affect the water supply for the city?
In 2017, when there was water rationing, the water crisis here in the region of the outlet of the Córrego do Palha, a water collection unit was placed for supply.
That was when Lake Paranoá became a source of water supply for human consumption. So what happens? With these projects, bridges and housing sectors that Terracap wants to place here, it will compromise the possibility of maintaining this catchment and sustaining this supply of drinking water for the population.
Preserving Serrinha is no longer just a matter of guaranteeing the rights of the traditional residents who live here. People who came here over thirty, forty years ago. It is a question of water balance and sustaining the water supply for the population of Brasília. Added to this is the fact that, when we started defending Serrinha, we ended up joining other regions of the city that experience the same type of threat.
Can what happens in the Federal District affect the country?
The Federal District is located in the Cerrado biome, which is also known as Brazil’s water tank. And this ‘little square’ here in Brasília has a strategic position in water production because here are the springs of the main basins that supply the country, such as the Tocantins basin and the Paraná basin. There are three aquifers here in the Midwest region. One of them that gives rise to the source of the São Francisco.
So everything that is done in the occupation of this territory impacts this water production and impacts this supply to the main basins. Three of the largest basins originate here.
Who can resist such pressures?
The community resists, right? Several movements were made, such as Salve o Urubu. Then, the last one was in 2022, when an attempt was made to create an integral Conservation Unit on the farms and when Terracap also resumed its attempt to implement the Taquari II Housing Sector, there in the Urubu region, which had very strong resistance from the community .
In 2017, during the Rollemberg government (2015-2018), the Brasília Environmental Institute (Ibram) even suspended the license for this project. But it was resumed. In 2022, with the association formed, we managed to get the Public Ministry to issue a recommendation signed by six promoters asking Terracap to redo its projects, because there was, for example, no study of the environmental impact in the region.
Save the Urubu is the Permanent Movement for the Preservation of the Córrego Urubu Microbasin, launched in September 2007 by a group of residents of the region.
What are the prospects for the future?
Today we know that the Water, Energy and Basic Sanitation Regulatory Agency of the Federal District (ADASA) is working with the scenario of a new risk of water shortages in Brasília in the next three years.
Our dispute with the GDF government is to try to show the population, the authorities, everyone who has the power to interfere in this process, in this discussion of the occupation of the territory, that it is no longer a matter of looking at Brasília’s navel. We need to think in national terms. What are we doing with the country’s water tank?
What will be the consequences if we are unable to preserve the Cerrado? You know that the Cerrado and the Caatinga are the only two biomes that are not part of the natural heritage protected by the Constitution. There is even a Proposed Amendment to the Constitution (PEC) being processed in the National Congress to correct this.
Because it does not have this protection, the Cerrado has been the most devastated biome and with this we are reaching a dangerous limit point of ending up destroying our water sources, our springs, because we are not paying attention to the water producing areas of the Federal District . Because the GDF, with its large real estate company, Terracap, only thinks about profit, right?
Terracap’s sole source of funding is to sell public assets. But this land is essentially water-producing land. And this is the reflection that we need to do with the control bodies and with the GDF.
The population of Brasília has no idea how important it is to protect these water sources. We’re not just talking about Chapada dos Veadeiros, we’re not just talking about Cavalcante, Alto Paraíso or Planaltina where the Águas Amendmentadas Ecological Station is located. We are talking about Serrinha, ten kilometers, fifteen kilometers from the Plano Piloto bus station. A water-producing region that needs to be preserved.
Otherwise we will have a very compromised supply.
* The report requested a position from Terracap. In a statement, the company states that the Taquari Housing Sector stage II project is awaiting an environmental installation license. “All Terracap studies and projects strictly follow current urban and environmental guidelines and legislation. All springs will be preserved because, by definition, they are permanent preservation areas (APP), requiring the preservation of a strip of 30 to 50 meters of these springs, without construction or occupation”, says the municipality, adding that “the 2nd section of Taquari does not have any springs in its polygonal, therefore there is no Terracap subdivision close to the springs. On the other hand, it is necessary to check whether there are occupations close to the springs, which for this reason would be considered irregular”.
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Source: BdF Distrito Federal
Editing: Flávia Quirino