About 104 tenants of Coco’s Sunset Hill Condominiums, located in the La Chorotega neighborhood in Playas de Coco, use water from a well that doesn’t have a drilling permit.
This is shown by a document from the inspection performed by engineer Leonardo Solano from Minae’s Water Bureau, filed February 24, 2014, of which The Voice of Guanacaste has a copy.
The document concludes that the well does not have the drilling or concession permits, so it was recommended to send the case to the Water Bureau’s legal department.
Gabriela Paez, legal coordinator of the Water Bureau, explained that at the end of 2014, a resolution was sent by fax to the condominiums to order that the well be sealed. However, since the fax number was not in service, the company was never notified.
The lawyer said the order to seal the well will be issued again in the first few days of April and an official from AyA will be sent to deliver the notification personally. If Coco’s Sunset Hill S.A. does not comply, the case will be sent to the Carrillo District Attorney’s Office.
For his part, Riziero Baldini, owner and developer of the condominiums, explained that when they acquired the property, the well had already been made.
“It is true that the well does not have use or drilling permits. That is because the well is handmade. The well already existed when we acquired the property in the 90s. The well was never used for commercial purposes. Recently the well was rehabilitated due to an emergency situation and extreme need generated by delays from AyA in granting new water hookups to Coco Sunset Hill residences,” Baldini wrote in an email.
In addition, Baldini specified that the well is located on municipal property since, when the Las Palmas urbanization (where the condos are located) was approved, a certain number of acres were given to the Municipality for public use.
“The well, which was disabled at that time, was located within one of the properties donated to the municipality because the intention never was to use the well for commercial or residential or domestic purposes since our intention was to have the possibilities that were offered to us at the time by AyA,” the owner added.
Nonetheless, Cesare Matteini, president of Playas de las Palmas S.A., who was the former owner of the property, affirmed that when the lands were given to the municipality, a handmade well did not exist.
Mattein gave The Voice of Guanacaste an official document dated February 25, 2009 regarding the transfer of properties made to the Municipality of Carrillo, and the document does not show the transfer of a well.
Facing the possibility of a complaint being filed with the district attorney’s office, Baldini explained that they cannot leave the apartment owners and tenants without water.
“Water is a service that is essential to life, and in this case, it is used exclusively for domestic use and ordinary living needs. The material and human damage that would occur if the well were sealed can’t be estimated. If the decision is to seal it, we would hope the state would provide us with a solution to the problem that would be caused by the state itself since the construction of the apartments was done with everything in order with the law, with permits from the municipality and INVU, thus guaranteeing sufficient essential and public services,” he assured.
How Is a Drilling Rermit Requested?
In Costa Rica, Minae’s Water Bureau is the entity responsible for allowing drilling. For this, the beneficiary should apply for a well drilling permit (Permiso de Perforacion de Pozo), along with a copy of a hydrological study of the place where they want to make the well.
Then the bureau sends the documents to SENARA for them to conduct a thorough study of the well in question.
After an investigation, SENARA evaluates whether or not to approve the application. If it is approved, the Water Bureau issues a resolution to validate drilling.