Itaipu's commitment with the issue of environment and mainly with the quality of Paraná River’s quality was shown even before any construction took place. The monitoring of the water began in 1977 with the objective of characterizing and assessing the changes in the water ecosystems with the purpose of proposing mitigating actions for the possible impacts as well as providing the multiple use of water.
After this, other monitoring actions were incorporated and new methodologies were proposed to those and new objectives such as to check and improve the water’s quality by means of water conservation actions and soil proposals through the Cultivating Good Water program. This new network established has demonstrated interesting and positive results that in fact are simply the fruits harvested by the entire community in the region.
Itaipu Environmental Lab was implemented in 1991 and currently it carries out about 13,000 tests a year in order to meet the various environmental action needs developed by various areas in the company, which includes its part in research and environmental and biological monitoring.
The evolution of the methods and technology of the equipment make Itaipu’s Environmental Lab a reference in the field of prevention, diagnosis, and disease control in obtaining environmental analysis parameters and in the development of surveys. Based on the study of data obtained, it is possible to elaborate a profile of the environment and set targets to improve the quality of life in the ecosystem.
Due to the national and regional problems of water quality for public supply, recreation, generation of energy, and other uses, the frequent blooming of undesirable algae and the excessive proliferation of aquatic plants makes the program of environmental monitoring and assessment essential and represents a safe method to check the real needs of intervening in watersheds.
That is why Itaipu Binacional has elaborated systematic diagnosis of the reservoir and its area of influence in order to provide parameters and indicators that can guide and attest the environmental aspects related to the actions developed in the BP3.
One of the objectives is to stimulate and help with the creation of community agent groups as volunteers for checking the quality of the water in the rivers of the region’s micro watersheds using integrated analysis tools and this way make up a participatory monitoring network.
In order to meet the objectives of this initiative, Itaipu had maintained the monitoring in old stations strategically located in the BP3 (43 stations) and that are of extreme importance for assessing the trends in the ecosystem.
Furthermore, the participatory program for assessing the water quality with the community agents counts with the periodical support of researchers in order to assist the group of volunteers to reach standards of excellence in efficiency and in order to make the data officially recognized. The establishment of the gathering locations, periodicity, and forms of publishing the results are decided in common agreement among the parties involved.
With the participatory monitoring were created seven community agent groups that monitor the rivers Sabiá and Xaxim in the cities of Matelândia and Céu Azul, rivers Toledo and Lopeí in the cities of Toledo in Sanga Funda, river Ouro in the city of Ouro Verde do Oeste, rivers Tucano and Guavirova in the city of Santa Terezinha de Itaipu, and rivers São João and Buriti in the city of Itaipulândia.
Another work front in the program is a partnership with the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) that elaborated a diagnosis of the underground waters along the Paraná Watershed 3.
Along with the benefits for the community in general, the program is of great usefulness for the Watershed Committees because it was able to elaborate a detailed Management Plan for the Watershed based on data gathered, which gives support when making decisions on the quality standards for the waters to make sure they are compatible with their multiple uses.
The social players in BP3 are protagonists in the monitoring, assessment, redefinition, and participatory implementation of the Cultivating Good Water programs and actions.
The following of the results and the progresses of the Cultivating Good Water program is done in a continual way both internally as well as with the external public.
Internally it is done by an Actions & Programs Management computer system where the physical evolution, targets, financial evolution, and analysis of the forecasted vs. actual is recorded and later revised.
Externally the monitoring is done systematically by the management committees, but annually integrated with all the programs and actions and is carried out under a broad process of evaluating and planning through pre-meetings and meetings of Cultivating Good Water. First, meetings are held in each city in order to assess the actions for the programs in development. The members of the micro watershed committees participate and other partners. They make an assessment and propose improvements, including practices and initiatives from other partners.
After the pre-meetings, the material is consolidated and presented in the annual meetings of Cultivating Good Water. The best practices are presented in topic workshops grouped according to subjects and always linked to a general theme that varies every year. The results of the workshops make it possible to assess, discuss, improve, estimate, and implement proposals or practices in the cities.