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Potable Water Promised to Beach Community of Pelada

By Samantha Pollock

The Federal Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) delivered a promise to the residents inhabiting the portion of the Ostional refuge in Pelada. For years the residents of the small beach community living in the 200 meter refuge zone have relied on well water that is often found to be unfit for drinking.

Until now the community of home and business owners have not been granted access to the public water source because a majority are not able to provide proof of title to the land. Title is a necessary criterion required by the Costa Rican water authority (AyA) in order to connect a property to the public water grid. 
For nearly a decade the Nosara Civic Association (NCA) has applied for Blue Flag status for both Guiones and Pelada beach much to the chagrin of the latter community’s residents. According to Dr. Laura Brenes MINAE’s Director of the Ostional Refuge, the people of Pelada’s 200 meter zone have voiced frustration regarding the placement of the flag on their beach because one of the Blue Flag requirements is to have potable water.
It was the raising of the Ecological Blue Flag on Saturday September 18 that drew the attention to the issue of potable water access. Faced with the opposition of community members to place the Blue Flag at Pelada Beach despite the lack of potable water, authorities from MINAE, AYA and the Ostional Refuge were prompted to make the promise and begin the process of making potable water accessible to the community.

Brenes explained to VON that the issue is a complex one. She said community members of Pelada are skeptical of the promised progress.  Legal and monetary obstacles will slow the process and make it difficult to make the necessary changes to receive water meters.


Members of the Pelada community raised the Blue Flag on Saturday
September 18th

Ostional Refuge Director Laura Brenes (right), with Milagros Gallegos (center)
and Gerardo Bolanos (left), organized a beach clean up during the Blue Flag
ceremony on Saturday September 18th

After three failed attempts to reach Pelada because of a swollen river an engineer from AYA finally arrived to Pelada on Monday, September 26, to make an assessment of the project. 

“The engineer completed the assessment of Pelada; the next step is to meet with the Nosara ASADA and move forward from there. It will not be easy but there is progress being made,” said Dr. Brenes. The ASADA represents the Costa Rican water authority in the Nosara area.

The Ostional Wildlife Refuge was created in 1983, designating the 200 meters from the coast as protected land. In 1985 The Nosara Civic Association (NCA) donated land along the beach and the refuge was extended to include Pelada and Guiones beach. The Refuge now makes up an 18 kilometer stretch of land. Prior to the creation of the Refuge in 1983 there were families living within the 200 meter protected zone; however very few had paperwork to prove it.
According to a new law proyect, the Refuge would have to be changed from being a state refuge to a mixed ownership refuge in order to legally permit human use. Only then would the respective water control board (ASADA) be able to connect Pelada to the public water source. 

The Ecological Blue Flag Program is impelled by the AyA in coordination with other public institutions, municipalities and private enterprises, and started with the primary objective of stimulating and motivating the coastal communities to protect the beaches in Costa Rica in an integral way, effectively guaranteeing the tourists’ and inhabitants’ demands and expectations concerning high quality hygiene, security and potable water coverage of those people who visit and live here.


More Community News

Neighbors pitch in to improve road in Samara

Fourteen Samara businesses and neighbors along the road to El Lagarto restaurant decided it was time to do something about flooding and drainage problems along that road. Laura Ellington of Intercultura reported that the neighbors collected 550,000 colones ($1100) to repair the road, with the promise that the municipality will later contribute up to 4 million colones ($8000) for further improvements. 

Dedicated to Education
Samara School’s New Director Explains Her Philosophy of Education

She has always loved to be surrounded by children. That’s why Maria Luisa Villarreal Muñoz chose to pursue a career in education. Now, 14 years into her career, she has been promoted to Director of the school in Samara, assuming the new post on August 10.

Lofty Plans for Carrillo's New Catholic Church

Puerto Carrillo has a new church, large with a high vaulted ceiling and arched windows along each side. The entrance is huge, opening to a vast space that leads to the altar which is elevated with wooden lecterns and the appropriate chair for the Bishop.

Downtown Nosara With New Curb

Now rainwater has a course to follow in downtown Nosara. The new 500-meter long curb and gutter stretch from the soccer field to the Rancho Tico restaurant, with a cost of over 10 million colones.

Torches, Lanterns and Drums to
Celebrate 190 Years of Independence

Thousands of students are expected to take to the streets to celebrate Costa Rica's 190 years of independence. Starting on the 13th of September, the torch will be lit on the border of Penas Blancas at 10 am, thus commencing the cross country tour.

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