Publication: Making concrete flexible: Adapting the operating rules of the Cantareira water system (São Paulo, Brazil)
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The Cantareira system is a network of reservoirs located in the inland region of São Paulo State. In 1974 it started operating to bring water from a sparsely populated region – the headwaters of the Piracicaba, Capivari, and Jundiaí (PCJ) rivers – to a densely inhabited and fast-growing region – the São Paulo Metropolitan Region (SPMR). Since then, the operating rules of the Cantareira system have been revised and renegotiated twice, in 2004 and 2017, to better respond to technical challenges and changing political, legal and institutional conditions. The article presents the evolution of the water allocation rules, its drivers and how it has reflected in the regional sharing of the benefits provided by the water transfer. This case showcases that also infrastructure-based allocations can be dynamic and adaptable to face new challenges, but the room for maneuver for changing the configuration of benefit sharing is limited.