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HomeTopicsEnvironment and WildlifeCosta Rica Faces Water Supply Challenges Amid Severe Drought

Costa Rica Faces Water Supply Challenges Amid Severe Drought

In a press conference the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), the government entity responsible for water supply in the country, announced that it cannot guarantee 100% of the water service due to the severe drought caused by the “El Niño” phenomenon and the scarcity of rainfall during the dry season, which lasts from November to May.

Juan Manuel Quesada, the executive president of AyA, stated that “the flow rates of surface sources have been reduced by up to 85% in the Greater Metropolitan Area of San José, making it impossible to guarantee water 24/7.”

This alarming situation has left residents of various areas in the capital, which is home to half of Costa Rica’s 5.1 million inhabitants, facing programmed cuts in their drinking water supply for weeks. Some neighborhoods have even gone days without access to water.

According to data from the National Meteorological Institute, the rainy season is expected to begin in the central area during the first week of May. However, AyA estimates that the normalization of the water supply systems will not occur until the end of that month. San José typically relies on water naturally supplied by rainfall in the Central Mountain Range that traverses the country from north to south. But the scarcity of precipitation has forced authorities to intervene and manage the limited supply.

AyA indicated that “the main surface sources, such as rivers and streams, have suffered large decreases in flow.” To compensate for the shortage and supply cuts, as well as to regulate the constant flow of water in the system, the managing entity has “redoubled efforts to incorporate sources that were not even planned,” including wells and tanker trucks. This highlights the severity of the situation and the need for immediate action to address the water crisis.

Furthermore, AyA has accelerated more than 40 infrastructure projects, worth over half a million dollars, to adapt and improve the water supply network. These initiatives aim to optimize the distribution of the limited water resources and minimize the impact of the drought on the population.

The current water crisis in Costa Rica underscores the vulnerability of the country’s water supply system to climate change and extreme weather events like El Niño. It also emphasizes the urgent need for long-term solutions, such as investing in more resilient infrastructure, promoting water conservation practices, and implementing effective water management strategies.

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