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Water Outages in the American Project to Continue through February

By Fritz Elmendorf

Periodic extended water outages may last another ten days throughout the American Project while the Asada, or water system, struggles with sputtering wells, budgetary, maintenance and personnel issues.

Asada President Rick Walker said two of the system’s wells have started to fail, although the surrounding aquifer is believed to hold water. One of the wells is 40 years old and it is not uncommon for them to crumble. He said an emergency session of the Asada was held Thursday, Feb. 16, to authorize the drilling of a new well nearby, in the ‘R’ section of the Project. This new well could be online in 10 days, but until then the system will have to be periodically shut off to allow the system’s tanks to be refilled.

The system was shut down without warning the nights of Wednesday 15 and again Thursday 16, and the frequency of additional shutdowns will depend in large part on usage, Walker said. He estimated that 70% of the water is used on landscaping and suggested that if gardeners took a break from their watering it could significantly reduce the need to shut down the system without further conservation. Water customers are typically notified via email in advance of the cutoffs.

The system’s two-year budget crisis, combined with a leaky pipe in a 40-year old water tank in the ‘D’ section and the hospitalization of a key staff member have worsened the current situation, just as the Board’s two-year elections are scheduled at the annual public meeting Feb. 22. 

 
   
 

Walker, who recently announced that he would not seek any of the Board’s seven seats, spent much of his two year non-paid term wrestling with legal and budget issues that began in October, 2009.
It was then the Costa Rica’s water regulatory agencies, the AyA and ARESEP, ruled that the Asada did not have the authority to charge higher rates than other Asadas in Costa Rica, or to charge the impact fees for new meters. To make matters worse, agency lawyers found that the Asada’s corporation documents had technical flaws, originating from when it became independent from the Nosara Civic Association.

While the corporation documents were reconstituted, the effort to gain approval for the old rate structure has been a series of frustrations with little hope in sight, Walker said. Currently, about 70% of users are voluntarily paying the old rates, with less than half of the new meters paying the impact fee. Walker said the system would be out of money in four months if users only paid the legal rate.

Prior to the last week, outages have been rare and brief during the past two years, but Walker said he would urge the new water board to seek a new moratorium on water connections. The end of the bad economy, which almost halted new construction here, will put too much pressure on a system that doesn’t have the capacity, he predicted. About 20 meter applications have been received in the past year, showing that the market is recovering.

However, the AyA will have to approve any moratorium request, a process that is likely to be bureaucratic and time consuming.

Walker’s final act as President may be at a hearing before AyA and ARESEP Feb. 27 in San Jose, where he will defend the board against a petition by a developer who several years ago paid $38,000 in impact fees for 19 water meters for a condo project. The project went bust and the Asada long ago spent the money. Walker said that as long as he has the audience, he will make the case for reinstating the old rate structure.

The Feb. 22 election is for all seven water board positions, which are two year terms. Only registered water meter holders are eligible to attend the meeting and hold office. The meeting starts at 8 am in the Asada building near the gas station.

 

More Regional News

Mayor of Nicoya Takes a Rest For Health Problems

The mayor of Nicoya, Marco Antonio Jimenez, presented a disability notice on Monday, February 20th, before the Municipal Council because health problems impede him from exercising his labor for 22 days.

ASADA Nosara elects New Board of Directors
Old meter prices and water taps could return

At the Feb. 22 annual meeting of the water board (Asada) for the American Project, a new president was elected and outgoing President Rick Walker revealed some news for returning the ASADA to a sound financial structure.

Fire in the Nosara River Mouth Was Controlled by Firefighters

On Wednesday, February 22, residents of the Nosara river mouth were surprised when they saw a fire coming between the bank of the river and the bushes. The fire was the result of a bonfire left the night before, and it took Nosara’s volunteer fire brigade two hours to extinguish it.

Motorcyclist Taken to Hospital after Accident in Barco Quebrado

William Garita Jimenez of Barco Quebrado was taken by ambulance to the hospital in Nicoya on Wednesday morning, February 15th after being hit by a truck.

OIJ Investigate Cause of Tuanis Fire

On Tuesday February 7, agents of the OIJ (Judicial Police) from San Jose were at “Tuanis” furniture manufacturer, which was burnt to the ground last Sunday, looking for evidence to determine if the fire had been intentionally set.

Fire Destroyed Furniture Manufacturer "Tuanis" in Guiones

On Sunday February 5th, around 7 AM, the furniture manufacturer "Tuanis", located on route 160 in Playa Nosara, went completely up in flames. Nosara volunteer firefighters were the first to reach the fire, using water from the pool at The Village Foods.

New Law Looks to Organize Market in Liquor Licenses
• Municipalities Will Benefit

When it comes to profits from the sale of liquor, both the owner of the bar and the owner of the liquor license that the bar utilizes can take a big slice of the pie. But only 300 colones per year of the liquor license use tax goes to the municipality Why? Because the law that regulates these licenses dates back to 1936.

Better Late Than Never: The Montaña River Will Finally Have a Bridge

After Nosara and Ostional residents endlessly requested that the Government build a bridge over the Montaña River, it has finally become a reality. Since January 9th, machinery has been hard at work with breaking ground and opening the space needed to access the Bailey bridge.

Nicoya, Nosara and Samara Plan Projects for 2012 National Budget

Two motorcycles for the Public Force of Nosara, computers for schools in the district of Samara and new sidewalks for the park in Nicoya are the projects that have been selected for investing funds from the National Budget of Specific Items for 2012.

Danger at Samara Intersection
Bus Stop Locations Create Hazard for Drivers and Pedestrians

If someone isn't paying attention and using the proper caution, an accident could easily occur at the main intersection entering Samara, especially when buses are present, reducing visibility of oncoming traffic.

Municipal Power Struggle Hinders Budget for 2012

The Municipality will likely have to work with an adjusted version of the 2011 budget this year, according to Municipal Code article 98, since the 2012 budget was not approved by the General Controller of the Republic (CGR) due to issues with the proper approval procedure.

 

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