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Drought Will Hit Communities with Water Shortages

By Oliver Pérez

Starting now, several communities in the Canton of Nicoya will have to have patience as water rationing will be the order of the day since this past rainy season left a 25% shortage of water, according to Water and Sewer (AyA—Acueductos y Alcantarillados).

Farmers and ranchers have been those most affected. Angel Mena, a farmer in Nicoya, told VON that he and other neighboring farmers lost rice and beans. "It went very bad for us. The winter was bad; the lack of rain left us with crop losses. The problem is that now we're going to suffer with potable water since the wells have low levels of water," he expressed with great concern.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG—Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería) has already issued a precautionary alert in Guanacaste in anticipation of a terrible reduction in the agricultural sector caused by El Niño for two years in a row. The El Niño phenomenon caused a decrease of up to 60% in rainfall this year.

Tania Lopez Lee, vice minister of MAG, said she "doesn't even want to imagine" what would result from a drought like the one that might occur this year. "Since we suspected, because of the "Indian summer" in June, we started monitoring until this was declared a "El Niño" year. Due to this, we have been working, as MAG always does, on trying to give assistance as well as information to producers so they prepare, for example, with bales of hay, storing grains in silos and water prevention," Lopez assured.

Coastal zones and areas of Guanacaste are the most critical since 95% of the water supplies come from subterranean waters. For the moment, AyA doesn't plan on rationing water to face the shortages, but in January they will initiate a campaign to encourage people to conserve water.

Even before rainy season ended, several communities showed problems with water rationing. In the case of Cuesta Grande, Terciopelo and Maquenco, AyA built them a well and piping system, and this project alleviated one problem, but the happiness didn't last long since the well dried up and the families continue with the problem. Some have had to resort to homemade wells.

"The situation is getting worse all the time. On top of this, we had a very bad winter that didn't leave us with much water in the rivers. The problem will be from February on," said Wilmar Jimenez, who lives in Cuesta Grande.

In Nosara, the volunteer firefighters are already holding discussions with the ASADAs (water boards) of Esperanza, Garza and Nosara to guarantee water in the summer.

"We hope that this winter doesn't affect the availability of water. With Nosara we already have the liquid guaranteed in case fires happen," explained Bryan Bombard, chief of the Nosara firefighters.

Guillermo Hernandez Mendoza, administrator of the ASADA for the American Project in Nosara, indicated that during dry season they always experience a water supply shortage. The ASADA is currently carrying out a technical study to find out the capacity of the aqueduct supply.


More Regional News

Increase in Crime with Return of Tourists

During the first 15 days of November, the beginning of tourist season, the tourist police reported an increase in the number of crimes against property. At the same time, Jeison Vargas, tourist police chief in Guiones, assured that this is what the tourist police are here for and that they are visiting the area businesses every day.

Costa Rica Scores More or Less On Corruption Index

Costa Rica ranks 48th in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) which measures perceived public sector corruption in 176 countries. Costa Rica’s score in the 2012 survey is 54 on a scale of 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

Thieves Steal Boat Engine in Garza

On the morning of Monday, November 19th, Juan Rafael Hernandez Salguera (known as Juan Mora) of Garza received a phone call that his boat was missing. The anchor had been cut.

Archeologists Didn’t Find Indian Remains in Front of Colonial Church

Nicoyans have expressed divided opinions over the construction of a new plaza in front of the Colonial Church. One of the concerns manifested by some is about the existence of indigenous remains en the area where they are moving earth. 

Water May Cause Illnesses in Nosara Schoolchildren

On November16th, Serapio López School filed a complaint with the Ministry of Health after several children had health problems, apparently caused by water consumption in their facilities.


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