Costa Rica’s water supply

Extracts from an article in Semanario Universidad (Costa Rica), 03.06.09, ‘Water is in a state of emergency’, (p.3)

Ana Isabel Barquero, Coordinator of the Interdisciplinary Programme of Research into and Management of Water of Costa Rica’s National University (PRIGA-UNA), warns that despite the abundance of water in the country its administration requires improvement if any degree of efficiency is to be achieved. Indeed, as a specialist in this subject, she described the situation of water in the country as “an emergency”.

Barquero stated that underground waters which are the major source of the household water supply are being contaminated by chemicals such as nitrates and other toxic substances which are used in agriculture. She particularly indicated that in the Caribbean coastal areas the chemicals used in pineapple and banana cultivation are reaching the rivers. A recent Nature Conservancy study contained evidence that many of the freshwater wetlands, rivers and lakes from Mexico to Panama and the life they contain are in danger from toxic substances.

She explained that in order to safeguard the water supply, in the first instance a genuine management scheme is required, “starting with the government and including the municipalities and other institutions.”

She singled out tourism which she says must start to use water resources efficiently – in various places in the country so much water is wasted for swimming pools and golf courses.