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Friday, January 29th, 2016  |  USD: Buy 531.29 / Sell 543.92
20 years

One-third of municipalities have ceased issuing building permits due to lack of water

June 16th, 2014 ( Twenty-seven cantons in Costa Rica, or 33% of the total, have indefinitely stopped issuing building permits as a result of a lack of potable water supply, paralyzing construction in many areas, according to a recent report.


Seven of the cantons who have ceased issuing building permits are cantons of San José: Alajuelita, Mora, Puriscal, Desamparados, Acosta, Aserrí and Coronado, in addition to some areas of Escazu and Santa Ana.


Also affected are several areas popular with tourists and expats, such as the cantons of Carillo and La Cruz in Guanacaste, Perez Zeledon, Osa, Atenas and others.


Karen Porras, director of the National Union of Local Governments (UNGL), said the problem is not only a product of poor city planning, but also a lack of support from the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA).


Porras argues that government resources provided to AyA should be directed instead directly to municipalities in order to solve their own water problems.


For his part, Guillermo Carazo, president of the Chamber of Construction, disagrees.  Carazo said there is plenty of water, but the “fragmented” administration of water supplies, whereas some municipalities control their own supplies while others depend upon AyA, is the cause of the problem.


Carazo believes these water systems should be placed under the control of just two or three specialized institutions throughout the country.


“The crisis is recurrent.  If there is a [canton] that cannot meet its demand for water, the land has no economic value.  The State works to attract investment and when it does, developers are told there is no water,” Carazo said.


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  • Scott MacDougall

    There is an abundance of water in this country. This is a perfect example of complete and utter mismanagement of this resource with the result being lost jobs for Costa Ricans.

    • Bob Cash

      agree 100% Scott – especially when we get new water every day for 6 months of the year (LOL)

    • disgusted

      I see busted pipes leaking in some areas for days on end.. Some are just trickling leaks near the Clinic Clorito Picado been leaking for months. This kind of thing X thousand though out the country one reason. The other these hydro dams also take a huge amount of water. I am not sure this effects us here in SJ .. Spider sense tells me AyA another price hike.

  • El Torito

    This, plus the continual rate hikes for utilities have prompted us to begin producing our own electricity and water collection systems.

  • McDemon

    What about the privately owned “water trust” extorting over $5000 per paja in El Coco, Ocotal and Hermosa? What happened to water as a basic human right under CR law? How about equal treatment under the law? Interestingly, the fee being charged by the trust doesn’t apply to single family homes, primarily occupied by Ticos, but rather to multi-family developments, primarily owned by foreigners.

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