January 21st, 2016 (ICR News) In a joint effort between the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA), and the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), engineers will soon begin a quest to find additional water sources for Costa Rica’s drought-stricken Guanacaste province.
The joint agreement, coordinated by the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) will involve the drilling of 13 exploratory wells over the course of the next 12 months in search of new sources of groundwater to supply the province, which has bore the brunt of an El Niño-fueled drought since 2014, leading to serious water shortages throughout the province.
ICE will provide equipment and expertise, including experts and specialists in hydrogeology, geology, geophysics and drilling.
For its part, AyA will be responsible for carrying out the actual drilling and testing of the wells, and the construction of delivery systems for wells found suitable for exploitation.
The government of Costa Rican president, Luis Guillermo Solis declared a plan to improve water infrastructure and provide drought relief in the province in July of last year, declaring the initiative to be of “national interest” and pledging US $50 million to solve the province’s water crisis.
In announcing the plan known as the “Integral Water Supply Program for Guanacaste” in July 2015, the government said that funding would be provided as part of a donation from China that was received in January of last year, in addition to financing provided by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE), as well as US $2 million from ICE and additional funding via services fees charged by AyA.
Since late 2014, Guanacaste has been in the midst of the province’s worst drought recorded since 1937. Losses in agricultural exports as a result of the drought are estimated to be as high as hundreds of millions of dollars.
Among the most affected crops are sugarcane, rice, corn, oranges, mangos and watermelons.
Water shortages have also severely affected residential and tourism developments in the province.