Sardinal Water Meeting Rescheduled for Nov. 9

October 31, 2008

Government officials and residents of Sardinal, in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, have rescheduled a pivotal water rights meeting for Nov. 9 after the government canceled the original meeting a few weeks ago due to heavy rains.

The meeting will showcase a preliminary report on the sustainability of the Sardinal aquifer conducted by a multiinstitutional government water committee.

The report examines, among other things, whether the aquifer could supply water to Ocotal and Playas del Coco, two tourist communities located on the coast about 9 kilometers away.

The government’s canceling and rescheduling of the meeting incited protest from local residents, who complain they have been systematically left out of the management of their water.

Mario Zaragoza, spokesman for the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry, confirmed the preliminary report is finished but doubted the ministry would be able to hold the report back from public outlets until the new meeting.

Yet in a public statement on Wednesday, the nation’s ombudswoman challenged the ministry’s transparency. While the Constitution gives her office preliminary access to public documents, she has been unable to obtain the completed report.

This confusion underscores the conflict that has surrounded the water source in recent months.

In May, the $8 million, privately-funded aqueduct project was suspended following over a week of protests that challenged its long-term sustainability.

Although the project  was 75 percent complete, opponents of the project, including the ombudswoman, say the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) never completed a sustainability study of the aquifer and the private investors did not obtain the necessary permits (TT, May 30).

Now, armed with what they say is evidence of foul play, locals are vowing to literally fight to take control of the water.

Community leaders are demanding a yearlong study of the aquifer and the resignation of AyA President Ricardo Sancho.

–Devon Magee

 

You may be interested

Costa Rica’s snakebite research pioneers save lives worldwide
Changemakers
101 views
Changemakers
101 views

Costa Rica’s snakebite research pioneers save lives worldwide

Mitzi Stark - May 23, 2018

The Clodomiro Picado Institute is spread along the main road of Dulce Nombre de Coronado, northeast of San José. Its…

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby
sports
210 views
sports
210 views

Adaptive surfing, part II: The story of Dean Bushby

Ellen Zoe Golden - May 22, 2018

A three-part look at adaptive surfing in Costa Rica. Read Part I here to learn how a Central Pacific coach is…

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network
Human rights
267 views
Human rights
267 views

Costa Rica launches Pride Connection network

Elizabeth Lang - May 22, 2018

As Costa Rica continues to grapple with the disagreements about marriage equality and gender identity that dominated the second round…