Region, Nicoya

Drought: “Mr. President… Baptize Guanacaste!” – Johnny Leiva, PUSC Congressman

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During the solemn session of the Government Council the morning of Friday, July 25, held in the auditorium at Coopealianza and attended by some 300 people, various officials took advantage of the occasion to make a speech.

One of them was the Guanacastecan Johnny Leiva, from the United Social Christian Party (PUSC – Partido Unidad Social Cristiana), who said to President Luis Guillermo Solis, “Baptize Guanacaste,” requesting that the chief executive declare the lack of water caused by the drought ravaging the province a national emergency.

Marco Jimenez, municipal mayor, also spoke, requesting that the government help with the Water for Guanacaste project, which would supply some 20,000 hectares of land with irrigation in places that do not have access to water, such as the Nicoya Peninsula.

In addition, he requested support to implement the waste gasification project through an agreement with the electricity supplier Coopeguanacaste. The effort would require $35 million in funding in order to convert waste from several municipalities to clean energy.

During the session, President Solis declared a sanitary emergency in Guanacaste regarding arsenic contamination of water in the communities of San Carlos, Cañas and Bagaces.

The declaration is an agreement between the Ministry of Health, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS – Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social), the National Groundwater, Irrigation and Drainage Service (SENARA – Servicio Nacional de Aguas Subterráneas, Riego y Avenamiento), AYA and other public and private entities in the cantons. A work plan to confront the sanitary emergency will be presented in the coming weeks.

Government Signs Agreement to Give Water to Guanacaste

Later in the day, the president signed an agreement to help the areas of Guanacaste most affected by the drought afflicting the country. The agreement involves putting together a list of the most critical communities of the province and in particular the places where wells are empty in order to then help them.

Yamileth Astorga, AYA’s President, signed the directive and said that once they have information compiled they will be able to take immediate action to help those affected. Astorga reminded the audience that a yellow alert was declared on July 22 because of the drought.

“This directive allows us to immediately get to work and give [the situation] urgent attention,” said Astorga.