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Bad situation-Atenas w/no water!

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1/8/2015 20:04 EST

Water trucks have begun delivering water,restaurants are closed and no near resolution in site! The part needed is not available so who knows when it will be fixed.
Not a good situation-people w/wells are helping out neigborstbut this just lends itself to all sorts of health problems.

1/8/2015 21:22 EST

We never have this problem on the Caribbean side. We actually have much less rain than many parts of the Pacific but it is dispersed throughout the year. July and Dec can be our rainier months. I have been to Sierpe and seen the government have to deliver water and people standing in line with buckets to take it home. And more than one area in Guanacaste has rolling water outages or just plain no water and it has to be brought in daily with tankers! Just one more reason the Caribbean is a wise choice!

Gill Phelan

Author of---THE CARIBBEAN OF COSTA RICA -Live and Invest On the Last Frontier available on Amazon

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1/8/2015 21:57 EST

First,don't panic. This happens at various areas around C.R.
I always kept two 5 gallon jugs of water in the house and would add two tablespoons of bleach to each for disinfection.
This is part of living in a developing country.There are things that happen here that you just have to take care of yourself.Pura vida.

1/9/2015 08:03 EST

This has been an ongoing problem there, for the past few months, hasn't it?
Sorry for those in a situation such as this.

1/9/2015 08:50 EST


The Sierpe River is never dry, it is tidal and rises and falls every day as the tide rises in the ocean. I can't believe you ever saw water deliveries in Sierpe, maybe what you saw was irrigation trucks for bananas? We never have had water shortages in the southern Pacific region either. During dry season it may not rain much but we are blessed with a rain forest and lots of rivers that never dry up.

Steve Linder
Pacific Lots of Costa Rica
25 years building retirement homes for expats in Costa Rica

1/9/2015 08:58 EST

Let me add a little history to the water story so the folks on the forum can do proper due diligence. One of the main areas of concern is Guanacaste--especially the Playas del Coco area and Playa Hermosa. I used to go there all the time before it became too overdeveloped for my taste. The real problem there and also in the Sierpe area is that with the dry season etc. the aquifer is not sufficient to handle all the homes. Around 2002 when the building was going crazy many many homes and projects were built without proper permits and permission. The builders just built and promised folks they would take care of the water. They even would charge 5k or so in advance saying they would get a better water system. When the problem became too bad they thought they were just going to run pipes to Sardinal but the residents there put a stop to that as they did not want their water to disappear into the Gringo homes! AyA came out while the people were striking and put a stop to any water systems. They said they need to do a study to see if the underground aquifer can supply all the needs. It is not just that it was a developing country (so the problem was uncontrolled building)---but a plain fact that people were trying to overbuild in a semi-desert situation. In Coco there are still condos that have to bring tankers in every day and that has been going on for many years. When I went back to Playa Hermosa after not being there for 2 years I was stunned at what damage they did to the beautiful mountains around town! I don't know about you but if I am going to build a million dollar home I want to be able to flush the toilet! Another town is St. Teresa--the rich and famous had to bring in water for their weddings! I travel the country quite a bit and every time I get home I know we have not only the most beautiful area but also water problems are not an issue.This is the reason that due diligence is important! And lets not even get into the filthy sea water that is STILL a problem in many of the over burdened tourist towns!

Gill Phelan

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1/9/2015 09:56 EST

What sort of part is needed? Is it for an underground valve?

1/9/2015 10:19 EST

What I saw first hand in Sierpe was not the river drying up but the town water system was dry. The government water truck was delivering water and pumping it into the water tower and there was a huge line of folks waiting in line with 5 gallon buckets.Now---this was about 8 years ago so I am not personally aware if they fixed the issue but I am just pointing out to folks that this water situation is not something to be minimized. I do know that the biggest water problems are not in the southern area but rather the north west Guanacaste area. The condos my architect built up there are constantly
trucking it in!

1/9/2015 11:52 EST

It is/was an underground part-muy anticuado- that is supposedlt "fixed" but now they have to wate for the concrete to dry at least 48 hrs!!!!!

1/10/2015 07:33 EST

Occasional water problems will occur in CR. These are usually attributable to infrastructure issues, not capacity. In Coco I don't think I've ever seen a water truck for anything other than swimming pools. Since 2002, officials have rightly clamped down on out-of-control building. The Sardinal water protests were directed at Tamarindo, not Coco. Most of the Ticos who live in Sardinal benefit from the development and tourism in Coco.

1/10/2015 08:43 EST

For a fact I know there are condos in Coco who's whole water supply ---including swimming pools is dependent on tanked in water. And proleaf you are wrong about the water going to Tamarindo--as you will see in the below article. It is much better for us all on the forum to at least do a tiny bit of research to back up a claim if you are going to contest what people say? Yes the folks in Sardinal benifit from the tourists but for sure they had a very vociferous and organized strike against piping the water to Coco and Ocotal! The article is from the Responsible Development Front (and below that an article about the strikes) and also talks about the problem being the aquifer not the infrastructure. And if you read on it gives project names that have to tank in water! FIRST ARTICLE------Sardinal-El Coco-Ocotal Aqueduct; Water Protection & Preservation
Constitutional Court rules mega-aqueduct for the benefit of developers violates the Constitution of Costa Rica.

In its decision #2009-00262, the Constitutional Court of Costa Rica (Sala IV) ruled in favor of case no. 08-005154-0007-CO (Resource of Protection), supported by a number of entities and associates, against the construction of the Sardinal – El Coco – Ocotal Aqueduct and it stopped all work on the project.

The aqueduct project is an $8 million investment, financed by more than 20 private developers in partnership with the government municipal water authority monopoly (AyA), to take huge quantities of water from the aquifer of the local community of Sardinal in order to supply the private developers (mostly foreigners) residential real estate development projects in Playas del Coco and Playa Ocotal.

Since late 2008, the Aqueduct has faced major opposition from community of Sardinal due to the community’s grave concern that the taking of such huge quantities of water will not leave sufficient water for their current and future needs, including the future needs of their children.

In its decision, the Constitutional Court concluded that the project represents a violation of article 50 of the Constitution of Costa Rica because there is no technical certainty about the water exploitation capacity of the Sardinal Aquifer, and that there is uncertainty about the effects this could cause on the availability of water to satisfy the needs of the Sardinal community, which by law must take first priority over any commercial or tourist interest.

Thus, another key victory in defense of the water of the citizens of Costa Rica was achieved and further strengthened efforts to curtail anarchic residential real estate and tourist development and its negative impact on the precious, in short supply water resources of the region until the government can properly correct the deficiencies and inefficiencies of the its bureaucratic institutions to adequately and effectively resolve the well known problem of lack of water on the Pacific Coast / Gold Coast of Costa Rica.

As of this writing, April 2011, extraction of water from the Sardinal aquifer to supply the developer’s projects remains legally unachieved.NEXT ARTICLE ABOUT STRIKES----------Construction work on the aqueduct that would bring much-needed water to the communities in Playas Hermosa and Ocotal is suspended, and key members of the committee that funded the project were in a meeting in San José Thursday to try to resolve the crisis.

Pipelines were burnt in anger May 12 by citizens of Sardinal, the town whose aquifer is set to supply the water, and a confrontation between protestors and police left 11 injured Wednesday.

Around 75 percent of the infrastructure needed to deliver water from the inland town to real estate and development projects on the booming coastline has already been completed. A group of 32 private businesses formed a trust with the Banco de Costa Rica to collect $8 million for the project, which is named Coco Water.

Developers are desperate to deliver more water to coastal areas via the 9 kilometers (about 6 miles) of pipes. Without sufficient water it is impossible to obtain development permits, and the small aquifers in Coco and Ocotal cannot support demand.

The group formed a private public partnership with the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados, the first of its kind in Costa Rica's history. After the infrastructure has been built, it is to be delivered into the hands of the water institute, which will run it normally.

But now, two years after the first wells were drilled for the aqueduct, opposition to the project has escalated.

“Almost the whole village came out in protest on Wednesday,” said Felipe García, a Fuerza Publica officer in Sardinal, who estimated the population at 500 people. “They've already built most of the pipeline, but if they operate it, there won't be enough water for the village. The water will all be going to tourism and hotels on the coast instead of to local people.”

Studies made by the water institute this year say that the aquifer has a capacity of 2,134 liters of water per second. The aqueduct will demand 176 liters per second and provide up to 8,000 hook-ups to the pipes.

The water institute's director Guillermo Arce has said that the community need not be worried, as its water supply is guaranteed for at least the next 20 years.

“This project is going to be ok,” said Alex Picado, a project engineer for Grupo Mapache, which has invested in the aqueduct and has some 800 units waiting to be hooked up. “The water is state property and in reality there's nothing the residents of Sardinal can do to stop the aqueduct. It needs to be finished by January 2009 because developers need to sell their properties, and without water they can't sell, or continue to construct.”

“The Sardinal people need to be more conscious of the fact that this water is not just going to developers, it's going to normal residents too,” added his colleague Mario Solis.

Legality issues have arisen surrounding the project, with representatives of the Sistema Nacional de Riego y Avenamiento saying that the water institute did not carry out sufficient studies into the environmental viability of the project before construction started.
water faucet
Both the institute and the Municipalidad de Carrillo have stated that the project holds all the necessary permits.

Other worries include the fact that although the water institute knows how many wells it operates, the agency has no idea how many illegal wells are also extracting water from the aquifer.

Thursday's meeting was held to discuss the complaints of the Sardinal residents and try to come to a solution, said Juan Carlos Ramírez, director of public works at the Municipalidad de Carrillo.

Communities further up the coast are also finding it hard to get hold of enough water for construction projects. Residents in Playa Hermosa are working on a solution similar to that in Playas del Coco.

“The water institute is not delivering water availability letters for multi-unit projects,” said Scott MacDougall, owner of Century 21 At the Beach in Playa Hermosa. “The letters are one of the first things necessary to start constructing a project. Our problem is that there is a tank on top of the hill between Hermosa and Panamá, and as there are two hotels down there in Panamá, when there is a water shortage, they just shut off the valve that lets water flow down to Hermosa, saving it for the hotels. To solve the problem we are making a public-private partnership also.

“The project is going to cost about $500-600,000, and will provide about 800 hook-ups. About 400 to 500 of these will be for multi-unit projects, the rest to help current users. It's a limited number, not an endless stream. We know what the immediate area can supply, and it's a problem of delivery not source.”

As yet, the Municipalidad de Carrillo has not received an application for the work to go ahead.
The project will be supplied by water from the aqueduct in Playa Panamá, and the overstretching of this resource is also a cause of concern for some. If too much water is taken out of a coastal aquifer, sea water flows in and salinizes the water, making the aquifer unusable.

“Everyone knows there's no water,” said Gadi Amit, leader of the Hermosa Activist Group and resident of Playa Panamá. “The Panamá aquifer is small, and still they keep granting concessions for mega-projects with hotels, golf-courses and condominiums such as that on Punta Cacique, all which take water away from residents. The development next door had to bring in water by truck from Sardinal, because it couldn't get any through the pipes.

“A national emergency was declared in this canton in 2007 for lack of water, it's crazy to me that they carry on building. Investors come into this area and feel tricked because there's no water for the houses they've bought.”

Officials of the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados were unavailable for comment.

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1/10/2015 08:51 EST

Good news, some people in Atenas are starting to get water!

1/14/2015 11:37 EST

Advisory is out regarding the water rationing that will soon begin...so be prepared.

1/14/2015 16:37 EST

how long will the water rationing take place? is it only certain areas in CR?

1/14/2015 17:25 EST

Did you read the article?
It could last months, depending on how much and when the rains begin. Guanacaste, has had the worst drought for many years.
We are in Guanacaste, which tends to be very dry as was mentioned elsewhere in the above posts.

1/14/2015 19:31 EST

The entire AyA water system is undersized. Break downs can happen anywhere for various lengths of time. Keep a water supply in your house for emergencies. There is no immediate relief to this situation. You will feel better when you can use backup water supply that you have stored yourself.

4/29/2016 22:06 EST

Hello, I am new to this and I am not trying to sell anyone anything!!

I am in the process of moving myself and my recycling water and wastewater treatment company to Costa Rica this year, 2016.

I have tried to review most of the comments regarding the Guanacaste area water issues and I would like to offer some of my experience and expertise.

I am an inventor and have spent the past 45 years involved in alternative wastewater treatment and water supply and recycling technologies.

I first became involved in Colorado (1970's) building "Bucky's" geodesic dome homes and discovered that septics were difficult to install in rock so I began looking for alternatives.

To try to make a very long story short, spending 13 years in Alaska with a composting toilet government contract with the US Army National Guard, I designed a tank and plumbing system to separate the toilet and kitchen organic wastes and compost them utilizing Dometic/SeaLand ultra-ultra low flushing toilets (.2 gallon per flush).

This immediately reduces the need for water by 40% in residential homes and as much as 70% in hotels.

I was kind of driven into greywater treatment and then into total recycling of the greywater into drinking quality water. I know, its different!

This is how I do it. I suggest collecting and storing as much rainwater as you can afford in polyethylene tanks. A very simple recirculating pumping, filtering and corona discharge, venturi injected ozone system can be installed to produce at least water good enough for most household usage.

Store it separately and use it for such fixtures as toilet flushing and laundry washing. When we do laundry we use ozone also to disinfect and reduce energy and water also.

To make drinking water we then pump the rainwater through 1 micron filtration, then a lot of ozone in a tank for disinfection, an ozone destruct system and then to reverse osmosis (RO) membrane filtration system.

The good water from the RO (permeate) is plumbed to every fixture in the building with RO water, except the toilet. The bad water from the RO (concentrate) is plumbed back into the cisterns for dilution until we meet a certain high concentration of total dissolved salts (solids, TDS), which we then discharge to our composting tank for evaporation.

We treat the greywater separately aerobically and then filter and treat it combined with the rainwater to make total drinking quality water.

Utilizing rainwater harvesting, storage,the toilet plumbing separation concept and greywater recycling we have documented a 95% reduction in the NEED for water and a 100% reduction in wastewater pollution.

That is correct, a totally closed-loop, zero-discharge, self-contained, onsite, decentralized, sustainable water and wastewater system only dependent upon Mother Nature and Technology.

No government intervention because legally rainwater belongs to the property owner on which it falls. Ley De Aqua.

If you just start with the plumbing concept of two separate water supply piping systems to fixtures that need different qualities of water you will be able to reduce the NEED for DRINKING quality water by 40 - 70% immediately.

I initially used expensive high pressure RO systems but have discovered by separating the plumbing supply lines, and using the concentrate to flush the toilets and large pressure tanks for the storage of both the bad and good water for separate flushing I have been able to utilize the low pressure RO system you can buy and install for less than $500.

The fact of the matter is you cannot depend upon any government to HAVE to supply anyone with and kind of water. And if you do, you may be a previous citizen of Flint, MI.

After living in Alaska (1982 - 95) and having some very difficult issues regarding water and wastewater treatment, I have been very fortunate to have been forced to come up with some DIFFERENT approaches.

The real discovery was that once you get all of the minerals out of any water with RO the recycled greywater no longer has very little minerals in it so the RO actually works better on recycled greywater and rainwater than any government supplied water.

Sustainability depends upon human intelligence to utilize technology and logic. Why do we need chlorinated water to pee in?

I am sincerely looking forward to my move to Costa Rica.

I do have a boilerplate introduction to a video that I would like to share with you describing separation and recycling technologies.

Please understand this! The conventional plumbing discharging wastewater systems are totally unsustainable and any technology that can separate and recycle all of our human and water resources should be considered a viable alternative.

The following is the introduction and url for the video on You Tube; Proven Environmental Water & Wastewater Solutions for Worldwide Health & Economic Development.

We would appreciate your review of this six-minute video relating to decentralized, onsite, blackwater/greywater separation; and the treatment and total recycling of ALL water, human, and organic resources, mistakenly regarded as wastes.

We have documented a 40-95% reduction in the need for water and a 95-100% reduction in wastewater pollution to the environment. Rainwater is harvested from the roof, stored and mixed with greywater. This is the world's first and only total closed-loop, zero-discharge, self-sufficient water and sanitation system.

Even though our video displays our technologies in urban residential construction, during the 1980 – 90’s, Human Endeavors personnel installed and maintained our composting toilet and greywater treatment systems throughout Alaska's rural Eskimo villages, in the most extreme of "developing country" conditions. With easy adaptations, our technologies can be installed anywhere.

We are in the process of moving our headquarters to Costa Rica and plan on concentrating our endeavors in Latin America.

Over the past couple of years, we have made significant improvements in reducing the manufacturing costs associated with our systems and we are more than confident that our technologies will create a ‘paradigm shift’ in how humanity regards, manages and treats all of our water and human/organic resources.

Please take a moment to watch our video.

Thank you,

Clint Elston
Founder & Director
Human Endeavors Foundation

VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMHbDodqQkg

15244 68th Place North, Maple Grove, MN 55311 USA: 612- 562-3867 CR: 7154-8886 (011- 506)

4/30/2016 11:00 EST

Please don't make the same mistake that I did and waste you time worrying about old news.

The thread is dated January, the article about rationing I dated 1/14 "The water rationing is due to the drought caused by the typical summer conditions associated with El Niño that will last until March, as the country enters the warmer months of the year, according to the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN) – the national weather service.

The conditions will affect the water supply from late January to April."

I've had a ton of rain at my home on the mountain just north of the Central Valley, At least for me and my neighbors,

no problem!

Pura Vida!

4/30/2016 12:35 EST

This is not about weather forecasts,El Nino or even technology.
It's about living off the grid without utilities to pay for and the freedom that comes with it. Every alternative should be investigated. Return on investment and self labor involved.
Since winds are very inconsistent on my mountain,wind power is out.
Solar would work but the pay back time is just too long at this time.
Water from a spring works but what if the spring goes dry?
These are the issues needed to be investigated and than the remedies.

My goal is still to be utility free.

5/8/2016 17:21 EST

In Guanacaste where we have our condo they close the water once in a while for an hour or even 2 but it's not too often.
However we have had some rain recently!

5/8/2016 17:24 EST

We are already living most of the year in Coco and I don't understand why some condos would need tankers to bring them water!
Isn't the water system equal to everyone?

5/8/2016 17:29 EST

When we live in a certain place we know what's going on there at the present time so we don't need to do any research about the past!
It seems to me that you are promoting the other side of the country!

5/10/2016 10:01 EST

The other side of the country has many positive attributes and no water problems is one of them! Great weather pattern with no 6 months rainy 6 months dry--new hospital and roads etc. I know the country pretty well after all these years and although there are no perfect spots I think the Caribbean side holds it's own and had many pluses compared to many parts of the country.

Gill Phelan

5/10/2016 16:26 EST

Everyone's talking about Guanacaste when the lead is in Atenas! I've lived in Atenas for over 2 years and have not had a water problem. No shipments here!

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