The São Francisco River “Old Frank”
The São Francisco River – also known as Velho Chico (Old Frank) – is a Brazilian river named after Saint Francis of Assisi following its first discovery by Europeans on his feast day (October 4) in 1501. With a length of 2,914 km (1,811 miles), it is the longest river entirely within Brazil. It is also the fourth longest river in South America after the Amazon, the Paraná and the Madeira. The river collects water from 168 tributaries and is of strategic importance, crossing regions of significant climate, environmental and social diversity.
The São Francisco River Basin encompasses the states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, Goias, Pernambuco, and Sergipe and Alagoas. It carries about 64 billion m3 of water annually to the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil. This corresponds to some 69% of the surface water in the northeastern region of Brazil and represents an annual accumulated potential of about 51 billion m3. The total hydroelectric potential available within this basin is approximately 26,320 MW.