Water: a precious good

Water is an irreplaceable natural resource for maintaining a healthy life and well-being for everyone. To ensure that we have this resource in the future, we must start taking care now of the springs and rivers that supply our cities.

Aware of the importance of guaranteeing the quality of life for future generations, the Central Dairy Cooperative of Minas Gerais (Cemil) decided to recover and protect – through fencing and replanting seedlings – the springs of the Canavial Stream microbasin.

Besides the work of replanting seedlings, the cooperative also worked on raising the environmental awareness of producers and sought partnerships with the city hall and environmental agencies. All the financial investments were paid by Cemil, with the support of the State Forest Institute, which provided the seedlings.


During a period of severe drought in the countryside of the state of Minas Gerais, the banks of 30 springs in the region began to lose their strength due to the accumulation of soil, garbage, and organic matter. This silting up can lead to the springs no longer contributing to the watercourse, reducing its flow and ceasing to be perennial.

Of this total, 24 were properly fenced and preserved; the other 59 were compromised. Located in Permanent Preservation Areas (PPA), these springs were “abandoned”, allowing animals to step on them and silt up the area.

The cooperative began, then, to map the area and survey the diagnosis of the situation of the springs of the Canavial stream. After this analysis, the springs were selected according to the importance of their contribution to the microbasin.

The first step of the project was to make the producers aware of the importance of preserving the springs located on their properties, which was done in partnership with environmental agencies.

Next, the cooperative acquired 58,000 meters of wire, 3,583 stakes, 236 fence posts, and 1,000 gates to correctly fence the protection areas. All the work was carried out along with the Patos de Minas town hall and the State Forestry Institute (IEF). In total, 30 springs have been fenced in and replanted with native seedlings, preserving a total area of approximately 11,000 square meters.

With the preservation of the springs, about 2,000 people have been benefited directly in the microbasin of the Canavial Stream, with more availability of water volume.

Throughout the project, 22 producers contributed to the initiative by participating in actions such as fencing, conservation, replanting, and preservation of the PPAs.

Cemil’s employees were invited to participate in the field days, bringing their families and receiving awareness-raising orientations.