A new coastal aqueduct from the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (in Spanish, AyA) will supply 14 rural water boards (in Spanish, ASADA) in Santa Cruz and Carrillo beginning in April, 2018, with water from the Nimboyores aquifer.
Although some neighbors are still opposed to the measure, the AyA assures that this aquifer is the only one that has the capacity to supply all of the affected communities and that it will only use 188 liters per second. The well can produce up to 400 liters per second.
This project is slated to begin this September, and the AyA expects construction to take seven months according to Sandra Salazar, the AyA’s press advisor. However, she told The Voice of Guanacaste that these dates are tentative and depend on how the project advances.
The project aims to bring water to around 36,000 people in this rural area. The investment will be around $15 million.
Among the ASADAS that will benefit from this project are El Llano, Hernández, Huacas, La Garita, Lorena, Matapalo, Potrero, Playa Grande, San Jose de Pinilla, Santa Rosa, Tamarindo, Villareal, and others.
Grace García, advisor to the AyA’s executive president, explained that less water will be used that what could be extracted from the aquifer. Only 188 liters per second will be used out of the 400 liters of water per second that the spring generates.
Additionally, she explained that the aqueduct already has completed all the necessary technical studies for the Ministry of Environment and Energy’s Water Department, as well as those for the National Irrigation and Drainage Service (in Spanish, SENARA).
“The technical studies that back what we are going to do regarding water extraction are in place. Regarding the opposition, I think that has to do with another element: illegal wells,” said García.
Garcia and Salazar also confirmed that the bidding process to install around 30 kilometers of pipes. Another bid for the construction of a holding tank is nearly ready.
Relief in the Face of the Drought
The aqueduct’s chief purpose is to alleviate problems due to the drought in the area and the frequent low water supplies due to the over-exploitation of coastal aquifers. As a temporary measure, the AyA has invested some ₡200 million in cistern trucks to bring water to these communities.
For now, the AyA intends to set the trucks aside and bring water to these communities once and for all and give overused coastal aquifers a break. The MINAE has identified 150 illegal wells in the coastal zone, which makes everything more complicated.
“The objective is that the ASADAS that have the most problems with the salinization process, like in Tamarindo, Potrero, and Brasilito, can protect the wells they have for a long time,” said the advisor.