Rio Grande do Sul is one of the Brazilian states with the greatest availability of surface waters. Its territory is drained by a dense surface hydrographic network and counts with three large collection basins: Uruguai, Guaíba and Litorânea. Uruguai basin, that is part of Prata River Basin, comprises around 57% of the State's total area; Guaíba basin comprises 30% of the State's area; and Litorânea basin comprises 13% of the total.
Land use in Uruguai basin is mainly connected to agricultural and agro-industrial activities. Guaíba basin presents areas of great industrial and urban concentration, being the most densely populated of the State, besides hosting the greatest number of diversified activities, including agricultural, agro-industrial, industrial, commercial and services. Land use in Litorânea basin is predominantly linked to agricultural, agro-industrial and industrial activities.
In Rio Grande do Sul water resources management reached significant progress with the installation of the Hydrographic Basin Management Committees, whose work envisages to define tools for planning and management of water resources, thus promoting their reclamation and conservation. Fifteen out of the twenty-three sub-basins of the State have installed Committees in operation, four have provisional commissions, and four are shared basins that require special approach.