Costa Rica declared a “yellow alert” (level two out of four) on Wednesday due to forecasts of drought in the coming months due to the influence of the weather phenomenon known as “El Niño.”
“We have to prepare ourselves as a society to act” in the face of possible drought and rising temperatures, said Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves at a press conference.
The Costa Rica is currently in the middle of rainy season (June to November), but has registered a rain deficit of up to 45% on the Caribbean coast.
The reduction in rainfall means the government is looking for ways to deal with water scarcity in the upcoming dry season (December to May) due to decreased rainfall and increased temperatures caused by “El Niño.”
The director of the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), Werner Stolz, indicated that a reduction in rainfall of between 15% and 20% is expected through the end of the year.
“We will have a dry season with temperatures above normal throughout the country, between half a degree to one degree Celsius,” commented Stolz, who warned that this situation would continue until at least April or May 2024.
The yellow alert implies greater inter-agency coordination in terms of water, energy, and fire prevention, agriculture and livestock.
Costa Rica’s energy matrix depends 99% on renewable resources. Two-thirds of this energy is generated through hydroelectric power plants, which could see their capacity affected by the decrease in water reserves.
For this reason, the government secured agreements with private companies that could provide the energy they generate to meet public demand. It will also use the Central American Regional Electricity Market (MER) if necessary. Authorities called on users to make efficient and rational use of water.
For now, no water supply cuts have been determined, as happened months ago in the capital San José, for specific periods and alternating locations.