November 7th, 2012 (InsideCostaRica.com) Costa Rica may employ cloud seeding in the coming months in the hope of avoiding a summertime increase in electric bills.
Cloud seeding is a form of weather modification used to artificially induce rain.
Cloud seeding is employed by flying an aircraft through target cloud systems, releasing and igniting flares containing silver iodide as the aircraft flies through the inflow of clouds.
ICE does not rule out the possibility of creating rain using cloud seeding in case the flow to the country’s reservoirs continues to be reduced this summer.
The month of October ended with critical levels in the main reservoirs. Arenal reported a 35% decrease in the reservoir level, Cachi was 40% lower, and Angostura saw a 35% decrease.
Cloud seeding using silver iodide was tested and used in Costa Rica in 1994. The country paid 110 million colons (about $220,000) to a company in California, in an attempt to bring rains to the country.
If the dry conditions continue electricity production costs will increase, causing an increase in rates.
In order to avoid temporary shut downs and rolling electric blackouts as the country has seen in other dry years, ICE says it is currently carrying out meteorological studies which will determine whether or not cloud seeding will be used this summer.
Silver iodide is considered a hazardous substance and toxic pollutant under the Clean Water Act in the United States, but scientists and companies engaged in cloud seeding operations in the U.S. say the substance is used in concentrations low enough to be negligible. Eleven U.S. states and one Canadian province all currently have similar, ongoing weather modification programs.