Water shortages worse than ever in Heredia

February 13, 2014
9 Comments

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.

(Via ESPH's Facebook)
"There goes the water and it's not even 9 a.m.!!! What is the excuse of the day?" (Via Facebook)

 

(Via ESPH's 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.

You may be interested

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico
Weather
435 views
Weather
435 views

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico

John McPhaul - December 13, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…

Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impact
Weather
1604 views
Weather
1604 views

Looking back at Hurricane Maria: the initial impact

John McPhaul - December 12, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the devastating 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…

Cold front claims fourth victim in Costa Rica
Weather
4201 views
Weather
4201 views

Cold front claims fourth victim in Costa Rica

Katherine Stanley - December 12, 2017

High winds claimed the life of a fourth victim in Costa Rica as the cold front that has been moving…