The theme park that the company Discovery will build in Liberia – developed by Sun Latin America – still lacks two water-use permits to fill artificial lakes and golf course watering.
Although the government has already guaranteed the project 61.3 liters per second, the project developer, Sun Latin America, requested 300 more liters per second that would come from Quebrada Plazuela (100) and Rio Liberia (200), according to the Water Management division of the Ministry of Energy and Environment (in Spanish, MINAE). The MINAE confirmed this to The Voice of Guanacaste upon reviewing all the concessions granted to this project.
If you want to get an idea of how much water will be used for this project, the Water Management office’s supply manual establishes that, on average, .02 liters of water per second will supply a six-person household.
The Discovery complex, which was announced at the end of this past April, will cover 800 hectares near Daniel Oduber International Airport. There will be pools, lakes, hotels, restaurants, and other attractions. Construction is slated to begin in 2018, and operations are expected to begin in 2020.
Why Do They Need More Water?
According to Ileana Rodriguez, spokesperson for Discovery, the request to increase water flow was presented with an eye towards the future; however, the project can be developed without this concession.
“The 61.3 liters per second are enough to fully develop this [project],” said Rodriguez.
Jose Miguel Zeledón, water director, explained that the company’s request is an expectation, but that doesn’t mean that they will receive the amount of water they want.
In November, 2016, his department denied the company a permit to drill two new wells because they didn’t fulfill all the requirements.
Artificial Lakes in Guanacaste?
Because of the critical situation regarding the water supply in Guanacaste, The Voice of Guanacaste asked Water Management about water use for lakes, as indicated in the Discovery project’s requests.
Zeledón said that Costa Rica cannot legally deny a water concession for any use as long as it fulfills all the requirements.
He added that Discovery’s concessions will not affect water supplies in Guanacaste’s communities.
At the same time, he said that the MINAE is working on a water-use manual for the project and a water reuse policy.
The company’s spokesperson also said that they are using “cutting-edge technology” to be responsible with the environment.
“We are currently analyzing the lakes, their design, and their dimensions in order to determine their water requirements,” said Rodriguez.
She also said that they will implement recycling and residual-water reuse programs. The project will be powered by solar energy and will use natural methods, such as green roofs, to reduce the temperature in the rooms and, in turn, use less energy.
The environmental impact study stipulated a series of commitments that the company will have to implement to reduce their impact. For example, all runoff waters must be directed to the lakes.
Where Will the Potable Water Come From?
According to Sandra Salazar, director of the AyA’s executive office, the institute has already had conversations with the firm to facilitate potable water service to the theme park. However, there currently is nothing concrete in place.
Salazar clarified that the AyA will finance the infrastructure for aqueducts and potable water, but with some projects agreements are reached in which the private company covers the costs. This also has not been defined.
What Are Discovery’s Water Concessions?
- Amount of water approved: 21.3 liters per second.
- Aquifer: Formación Bagaces.
- Well: ME-400.
- Type of use: Watering and tourism.
- Concession length: 10 years.
- Date of resolution: 13 de abril del 2015.
- Period of use: Tourist use year round, watering from December to May from 5 pm to 5 am.
- Under review: Increasing water flow, and changes to the hotel, restaurant, pools, commercial, residential uses. These requests are currently being studied.
- Amount of water approved: 40 liters per second.
- Aquifer: Formación Bagaces
- Well: ME-386 and ME-688 (20 liters per second from each).
- Type of use: Tourism, watering, shopping center.
- Concession length: 10 years.
- Date of resolution: March 4, 2014
- Period of use: Pool, restaurant, hotel, shopping center and offices (12 months, 24 hours a day), watering grass and forest from December to May 10 hours a day (from 7:00 ;.m. to 5:00 a.m.)
- Under review: Increasing water flow and increasing the use of lakes, lagoons, and pools.