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River Basins and Hydrographic Divisions of Brazil | 2021


The product River Basins and Hydrographic Divisions of Brazil results from the Technical Cooperation Agreement between the National Water Agency – ANA and the IBGE.

The National Hydrographic Division - DHN was already established in 12 Hydrographic Regions, by Resolution No. 32, of 10.15.2003, of the CNRH (National Council of Water Resources), widely adopted in the country. Now with the partnership between ANA and the IBGE, two more hierarchical levels were implemented, with spatial limits, names and codes, comprising: Hydrographic Macroregions, Hydrographic Mesoregions and Hydrographic Microregions. As a result, such hydrographic sections become part of the Geographical Reference Framework for the Production, Analysis and Dissemination of Statistics, released by the IBGE since 2019.

The BHB250, in turn, makes available to the public the main river basins in Brazil, in the strict sense of the term: Area of the earth's surface delimited by water dividers that captures and drains, through slopes, rivers and streams, rainwater towards a single exit, located at a lower point of the relief. Thus, unlike the DHN250, which considers aspects of territory occupation and resource management, this database is focused on the geomorphological aspect concerning the delimitation of its units. Thus, studies of hydrological and environmental aspects that require the use of this natural division have a reference base in the scale 1: 250,000.

The dataset was produced from ANA's Ottocoded Hydrographic Base (BHO), which uses Otto Pfafstetter's methodology, proposed in 1989.

About the publication - 2021

The Brazilian territory is naturally subdivided into several hydrographic basins, from where society gets most of the water used in its activities, involving, among others, human supply, irrigation, watering of animals, industrial production and provision services. Thus, it is absolutely essential to take care of everything that affects the quality and quantity of this resource, which is vital, in order to guarantee its availability today and for the generations to come.

In Brazil, the National Policy for Water Resources, established by Law No. 9433, of 01.08.1997, established the basic guidelines for water management in the country and created instruments such as water resources plans, which define the agenda of these resources in a given region. The Water Resources Plan of a river basin constitutes a master plan for a specific river basin or hydrographic region. It aims at supporting the Hydrographic Basin Committee in terms of the managing of water resources located in the respective area, in a sustainable way, so as to ensure the expected uses and goals. The hydrographic basin is, therefore, adopted as a territorial unit for the implementation of this Policy, as well as for the operation of the National System of Water Resources Management  - Singreh in the country.

In order to organize, systematize and promote the generation of information and statistics on the most diverse topics by river basins and hydrographic regions, the IBGE and the National Water Agency - ANA - implemented, as partners, two initiatives that will henceforth make possible a series of studies and works based on these sets: the elaboration of the Brazilian River Basin Database - BHB250, on a scale of 1:250,000, in an unprecedented way, and the re-discussion of the National Hydrographic Division - DHN, whose details gave rise to the National Hydrographic Division Database - DHN250, compatible with the 1:250,000 scale, and which aimed at analyzing, organizing, redefining, recoding, geocoding and renaming the three levels of hydrographic sections of the country that already exist and are produced by ANA. The prepared databases also bring information for the general characterization of Brazilian river basins, such as the estimated population residing in them, water availability and water use estimates, greatly contributing to the systematization and dissemination of statistics and indicators related to the water issue in Brazil.

With the release of this methodological report, the IBGE and ANA disclose the procedures adopted for the preparation of these databases and their incorporation into the Geographical Reference Framework for Production, Analysis and Dissemination of Statistics, released by the IBGE in 2019, which will allow the exchange of data and information regarding these segments.

More on the product - 2021

River Basins of Brasil – BHB250

National Hydrographic Division – DHN250

Learn more - 2021