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A Historical Perspective of Early Water Policy and Water and Sanitation Policy in Brazil = Uma perspectiva histórica das primeiras políticas públicas de saneamento e de recursos hídricos no Brasil

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Esteban CastroORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


The article aims to provide a historical overview of the factors that induced or influenced early water and water and sanitation public policy in Brazil. The article starts from the assumption that the socioeconomic and political development of the country resulted not only from endogenous dynamics, but also from global power structures since the beginning of the colonial enterprise. For this purpose, the article follows the theoretical line of classic interpreters of Brazilian history, like Celso Furtado and Caio Prado Junior and their perspectives on the country`s peripheral position in the global economic system. The analytical effort led to the perception that early water and sanitation public policy was developed in accordance with European initiatives and interests in the area. Also, the water resources public policy emerged from the need to regulate the use of water, especially to prioritize the generation of electricity in a context of external crisis and administrative centralization.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Murtha NA, Castro JE, Heller L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ambiente & Sociedade

Year: 2015

Volume: 18

Issue: 3

Pages: 193-210

Print publication date: 01/07/2015

Acceptance date: 10/12/2014

Date deposited: 11/11/2015

ISSN (print): 1414-753X

ISSN (electronic): 1809-4422

Publisher: Universidade Estadual de Campinas; Nucleo de Estudos e Pesquisas Ambientais


DOI: 10.1590/1809-4422ASOC1047V1832015

Notes: This article has been published simultaneously in Portuguese and English


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