San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Rate agency postpones plan to conserve water

The Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) deferred to 2014 an increase in water rates that was intended to help save water during the dry season, which in Costa Rica runs from December to April.

ARESEP spokeswoman Carolina Mora confirmed that the hike, scheduled to take effect in March, was postponed because the Water and Sewer Institute (AyA) said “there was no emergency situation, and therefore the increase is unnecessary.”

However, Mora said ARESEP experts “do believe the country is in an emergency situation,” given the scarcity of water during the dry season. “We are in a critical situation since users must face frequent water rationing.”

In January, ARESEP said it was considering raising water rates to persuade customers to conserve. The temporary rate would have been applied gradually, starting from a monthly consumption of 15 cubic meters. A study released by AyA in 2012 showed that Ticos consume 8 percent more water than the global average.

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