San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Why is all the water gone?

Water shortages worse than ever in Heredia

Last year, thousands of Costa Rican residents went months without water. This year, in the north-central province of Heredia, it is going to be worse.

“The last rainy season was not as strong as we had hoped,” said Francisco Angulo, a spokesman for the Public Services Company of Heredia (ESPH). “It is much worse than it has been before.”

This is the third consecutive year that Heredia has had water shortages due to lack of rainfall. Experts at Costa Rica’s National Meteorological Institute (IMN) claimed that a high-pressure blockage in the Caribbean is to blame.

“Heredia receives much of its water from the mountains, which is affected by the Caribbean weather,” said Gabriella Chinchilla, an IMN meteorologist. “High-pressure in the region has prevented the formation of cold fronts, which create rain.”

According to the ESPH, Heredian aqueducts are down 25-30 percent from their normal levels, and rationing is already in effect in Heredia’s northern and central cantons. The rationing affects approximately 25,000 people. Though the ESPH posts rationing schedules on their website, complaints on their Facebook page from residents reveal unscheduled shutoffs.

“There goes the water and it’s not even 9 a.m.!!! What is the excuse of the day?”

(Via Facebook)


“At 6 a.m. today there was no water for the area behind the Walmart in Heredia. Why don’t they respect the hours that they publicly post for their customers?”

(Via Facebook)

Exacerbating Heredia’s problems is the ESPH’s reliance on surface water aqueducts, which are more reliant on heavy rainfall to refill. In years past, rain has kept these aqueducts full, but the company has failed to develop underground wells for times of drought.

“Further into the dry season we will need to look underground to solve the problem,” Angulo said. “Right now we have plans to put in three underground wells in central Heredia.”

Providing water services to almost 5 percent of the population, the ESPH is the second biggest water authority in the country. The majority of Costa Ricans receive water from their municipalities or rural associations that manage individual wells.

Unlike the ESPH, Costa Rica’s largest single supplier of water, the Costa Rican Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), says they do not anticipate major problems during the dry season.

“98 percent of our customers will have water without rationing,” said Sergio Nuñez, the AyA’s assistant director for the greater metropolitan area. “The only areas of concern are San José’s high points.”

Nuñez named Ciudad Colón, Escazú, Santa Ana and Alajuelita as possible sites for rationing further in the dry season.

Contact Lindsay Fendt at

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Thomas J Howieson

Conserve water,share your showers!

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The Truth: see all the leaks on the streets, in the buildings and more. Today we saw again in San jose leaks in the street / water is running for days and weeks. Hey: nobody will save water, when the watercompanys not make a good Job. And they don’t do this!

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Solson Scherman

Hey guys just a heads up, the link to ESPH page is the schedule for suspension of service for non-payment not for rationing. Rationing information is far more nebulous and can be found here:

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The link is updated. Sorry about that

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The citizens should never, ever let their municipalities sell off their wáter services to other municipalities, except in times of crisis. Public services shold never be privitized.

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William Harned

Start your own Rain Water Harvesting with your own privatized resource. It’s actually very easy, and provides very clean, and efficient.

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A ahorrar la poca agua que nos queda. Sería bueno no desperdiciar agua regando los patios ni lavando los carros. Deberíamos tomar esta situación como una emergencia.

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John W.

Everybody knew that when CAFTA opened the door to privatizing public utilities, municipalities and cantones with their own water infrastructure would start selling it off to other municipalities and cantones.

You never hear about water shortages in Escazu because they are now able to buy water from other municipalities.

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Joe Argento


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