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COSTA RICA'S LEADING ENGLISH LANGUAGE NEWSPAPER

World Water Day and What it Means in Costa Rica

As we turn on our taps and reach for our next glass of water, many of us don’t even think twice. It is a luxury that we so often take for granted, we are accustomed to it being something we have always had. Ice cold, room temperature, even the choice of adding whatever fun flavour we want, it’s right there when we feel like it.

However, this isn’t the case for all those across the world. World Water Day is recognized every March 22 since 1993. According to the United Nations website “It is an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993, that celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people currently living without access to safe water. A core focus of World Water Day is to inspire action towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030”.

When you read that again, it is hard to understand and even comprehend that 2 billion people do not have access to safe water in a time of such technology and world improvements. A child can have access to tablets or cell phones to watch their favourite cartoons or scroll through social media in this world but they can’t access safe water.

It is one of our inherent human rights as set by the United Nations “the right to water entitles everyone to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.” Sufficient meaning it is continuous and safe that it is free from any threats and hazards to one’s health.

It states that water needs to be acceptable in the form of its presentation and consumption along with water and sanitation accessibility. In the state of the economy, it must be affordable whether referring to its facilities, services and water itself.

The opening ceremony began on March 21, 2022 when the UN World Water Development Report 2022 can be seen and made available online. The report plays a pivotal role in the future developments of policymakers.

World Water Day 2022 theme focuses on groundwater, “making the invisible visible.” Every year World Water Day promotes a new concept, last year being that of the value of water and what it means to us.

Other years have included focuses on water and disaster, climate change and nature for water where nature-based solutions were explored to help face the challenges of water. Overall Costa Rica does not face an extraordinary challenge when compared to other parts of the world.

The freshness of the drinking water in Costa Rica can be dependent on where abouts you are in the country, but generally speaking yes Costa Rica has clean tap water.

99% of Costa Rica’s population has access to water sources however, not all of these water sources comply with the components of the inherent right to water. That being not all is reliable and clean. Some rural areas throughout Costa Rica still don’t have consistent, reliable and safe clean water on a regular basis.

Coming to Costa Rica as a visitor and choosing to drink the water is something you should ask at the destination you are staying before you decide. With tourism playing a pivotal role in the Costa Rica’s economy the country’s water system is an important element. Large efforts have gone into ensuring there is accessible and clean water to those within the country. The Ministry of Health (MINSALUD) is the governing agency that oversees the water sector for Costa Rica.

Aya is one of Costa Rica’s public water and sewage utility agency which largely oversees potable water along with waste and other water related agendas. With the drilling of new wells in order to supply drinking water to areas in need of reliable and safe access to testing the quality of water being accessed, Costa Rica’s Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) has been helping to improve water conditions in the country.

For most they can adjust quite easily to the water, for myself, I have always drank from the tap water in Costa Rica and have never had an issue. However, there are some that may not be immune to the bacteria or adjust well. Within the more rural and remote areas the drinking water and not all connected to public water systems or have consistent access. At times you can even find water shortages or the need to ration it in various regions.

A few things to consider before deciding if you will drink the water is where the water source is coming from, many tourist destinations have filtered water, where are you located and is it downstream from any agriculture if you aren’t in an urban area.

If you are staying over in areas around the Caribbean or remotely along the isolated areas of the south pacific you may want to consider purchasing your water to ensure your vacation is not as affected as your system. The longer you are here the more you will be accustomed to the water source as in any other place you visit but you may not want your days to be cut short.

World Water Day is a day of recognition, playing tribute to something that plays such an integral part in our survival and day to day life. From the simplest of things to our daily bathing to living out our best and most beautiful days at the beach. Water is all around us, it keeps us hydrated, alive and supports so much of this world’s sustainability and life. It is such a precious commodity that we must not take for granted our blessed ability to access and resource water until it becomes too late.

Recognize World Water Day on March 22 by taking a moment and observing how water plays such an integral role in your day. How many times are you accessing water in any form, how much is being wasted and how are your habits polluting the waters. Just your mindfulness and awareness can help change your perspective to perhaps alter your daily habits.

It all starts with just one person and together our contributions can make a difference in our conservation and preservation of our waters as we work towards a world of accessible, safe and reliable water.

If you want to find out more information regarding World Water Day 2022 you can access https://www.worldwaterday.org/

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