Due to water shortage, the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) has temporarily banned large urban and commercial development projects in the canton of Bagaces.
German Araya, regional director of AyA, announced this during the extraordinary municipal council session on Thursday, April 28.
According to the official, the directive prevents developers from building multiple-house urban developments but the regulation does not apply to single family dwellings, in other words, where one family lives.
“We issued a directive because we cannot continue building development projects due to the shortage of water we have. The only thing we are authorizing for at this time is natural population growth, which is building a single-family house along a public street that has water pipelines, because it would be extreme now to not allow that growth,” he explained.
The announcement was welcomed by a group of 20 neighbors, most of whom were members of the community organization La Voz del Pueblo, who believe that the lack of water in the central part of the city is due to the increase in low-income housing in neighborhoods on the outskirts of town.
Such is the case with the Vistas del Miravalles project, located in the El Arbolito neighborhood, where they plan to build 167 social welfare houses, of which 20 are already built.
Regarding the status of this project, Araya said that at one point, AyA endorsed the water capacity for development, but for now, renewal has been denied.
“The water capacity is not enough to build,” said Araya.
For her part, Vice Mayor Gabriela Mendez expressed concern over the official’s announcement because the lack of water is impeding the canton’s development.
“All of these families are waiting for their home. I think the most important thing here is to seek a water solution soon, because there are many people waiting to build and it is stopping the development of Bagaces,” she said.
According to Mendez, the Vistas de Miravalles urbanization situation is undergoing legal analysis and AyA should meet with the municipality’s project commission and the developer.
Epifania Aqueduct By 2019
The solution that AyA points to in order to solve the water shortage in Bagaces is the Epifania aqueduct in the community of Cuipilapa.
Eduardo Tencio, AyA engineer, explained that they are working on the design phase of the project for now and that the system would be running by 2019.
“Currently the design phase is already underway and we hope that the plans will already be ready by the end of the year, so that the bidding process can begin in order to choose the company that would eventually do the work,” he explained.
Tencio explained that they would like to be able to shorten the time to get the aqueduct ready. Nevertheless, he explained that they need at least two years of technical studies in order to select a water source.
The Epifania aqueduct has an approximate cost of more than $7 million and would benefit more than 10,000 residents of the canton.