Nosara River Dredging is Affecting Santa Marta

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Neighbors of Santa Marta have noted a marked change in the speed and force of the Nosara River, which has already caused flooding and erosion of some properties in the area. The suspected cause is the dredge and dike work being just done upriver. 

Facundo Barrantes Barrantes, who has lived next to the river in Santa Marta for 16 years, related that it has never had such force and estimated that it has already washed away about a hectare of his sister’s 60-hectare property, including three palm trees, one sandalwood tree and two large ceibas.

In addition, Magda Conseca Castillo, vice president of the Sports and Recreation Association of Santa Marta, affirmed that the river has flooded the area behind the school and is affecting the entire village, which has about 80 houses. By late August, the river had already flooded several homes at least three times. “This hasn’t happened before. Now [the river] is faster,” she said.

Ricardo Chinchilla Murillo, SENARA (Servicio Nacional de Aguas Subterráneas Riego y Avenamiento) engineer in charge of the project, confirmed that he has walked down to Santa Marta and noted erosion. He assured that they are already preparing for the second stage of the dredge work, which will include the section from the Rasta Bridge through Santa Marta, but said the process involves steps like evaluation by CNE and bidding the work contract, so he estimated that work on that section will not begin until next year, meaning the neighbors will have to face the force of the river during the heaviest rains in September and October.

Taking this into account, Chinchilla committed to inspecting the area during the last week of August and submitting a report to the National Emergencies Committee (CNE) but noted, “When there is an emergency is when money pours in.”