Controversial Costa Rica water project gets green light

April 17, 2009

The controversial Sardinal Aqueduct Project in Guanacaste, a province northwest of San José, has been approved by the Environment, Energy and Telecommunications Ministry (MINAET).

Environment authorities gave the project the green light last week after a final report on the area´s resources confirmed the existence of sufficient water to operate the aqueduct.

According to the report, the aquifer from where the aqueduct would draw its water has the ability to produce 371.75 liters of water (98.1 gallons) per second.

Residents and environmental groups worry the project will lead to over-exploitation of water in the area, drawing it to feed coastal construction in northern Guanacaste, but officials from the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) said they will monitor the aqueduct closely to ensure that water is not overused.

“We worked very closely with various assessment organizations to make sure we don´t harm the area,” said Grettel Corrales, an AyA press officer.

A ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) halted construction of the aquifer on Jan. 14 because the project´s developers could not verify the aquifer contained enough water to begin extraction.

The report recommended the creation of an Extraction Monitoring Plan to help supervise the use of the aquifer over the course of the next two years. Officials from MINAET, AyA and representatives from the Carrillo Municipality are organized under the plan.

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