South America—a generously watered continent
South America has abundant supplies of water, but it also provides an excellent example of the uneven way in which water is distributed. In attempting to characterize the water situation in South America, one is bound to devote a great deal of attention to Brazil. To start with, Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world in terms of area. Although South America as a continent has plenty of water, it includes a number of regions with severe water problems. Even the well-watered areas have difficulty in surmounting problems connected with the organization of their water resources, due to the rapid growth of their populations. The Paraguay River, which rises in the Mato Grosso region, one of the great rivers of South America. On its way to the sea it flows through the great Pantanal zone, a waterlogged river plain of about 50,000 km. Water is a limiting factor which also impinges heavily on other sectors of society.