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Waterway Program

Autovias S.A.

Award Category: 
Social Responsibility
Award Year: 
2007

Autovias S/A is a private-sector company, which has been awarded a 20-year government franchise for Lot 10 of the “São Paulo State Highway Franchise Program.” Currently, it is responsible for managing 316.5 km of highways, and the area under its direct management is the geoeconomic region of Ribeirão Preto, Araraquara, São Carlos and Franca. The highway grid under Autovias jurisdiction comprises five highway segments located in the Northwestern region of the São Paulo State, extending into the State’s central area. The toll road system operation involves a number of activities, including infrastructure construction works, which often cause topography and landscape changes to occur, modifying the behavior of water dynamics within catchment areas, leading to: erosion, settling, decreased ground-water infiltration, particularly in aquifer recharge capacity, and direct changes in the local hydrological cycle. In mid 1998, Autovias created the “Waterway” (Via das Ãguas) program, aimed at mitigating the impacts felt by natural resources, in particular water resources, as the entire highway grid which it manages is located on an aquifer recharge zone. It consists of building rainwater containment dams along the highway grid managed by the company, particularly in the areas of public-supply springs, waterways and headwaters located within the drainage basins of the Sapucai-Mirim, Pardo and Grande rivers. The objectives of the system are: to store rainwater fl owing from the highways and adjacent areas; to slow down the kinetic speed of such water, allowing it to infiltrate and consequently recharge the aquifer; and to prevent the water table from lowering and the ground from eroding and being dislodged along drainage areas.