San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Water Wars

Guanacaste canton stretches water supplies to support construction

The City Council of Santa Cruz in the northwestern province of Guanacaste has continued to issue construction permits despite warnings of endangering the area’s limited water supply.

During a meeting Tuesday the council decided to continue issuing permits for the construction of hotels, condos and restaurants after three government agencies ordered them to stop, the daily La Nación reported.

According to officials from Costa Rica’s Environment Ministry (MINAE), National Subterranean Water Service (SENARA) and the Water and Sewer Institute (AyA), these permits will affect the already dwindling water supplies in northern Guanacaste. Since 2010, the area has seen its underground water supplies decline dramatically. These aquifers serve some 17,000 residents as well as a number of hotels and businesses.

Santa Cruz Mayor Jorge Chavarría disagrees with the government’s assessment. “Who says that we can’t allow construction… Nearly everything is full of water. Who is saying there is no water? There is plenty,” he told La Nación.

MINAE and SENARA officials balked at Chavarría’s statements, saying that investors will soon find that there is not enough water for their projects.

“The mayor can’t say that he has water. He’s not a technician, he doesn’t know about hydrology. He’s a politician and he is just telling investors what they want to hear,” said SENARA’s Carlos Romero.

See also: Costa Rica declares national emergency over drought in northwestern province of Guanacaste




Contact Lindsay Fendt at

Log in to comment


The canton of Santa Cruz has long been inflicted with corrupt leadership. Jorge Chavarria is a member of the PLN, and a perfect example of how they have distributed political corruption throughout the country. Santa Cruz is a canton with much foreign influence and $$$, and that scenario has made for the perfect breeding ground of government corruption. Jorge Chavarria was suspended once for this very reason. The OIJ chief of Santa Cruz, Victor Chavez Chavarria, is yet another valuable player in the cog of local corruption.

San Jose has only provided band-aid solutions, they obviously like to keep these corrupt public servants in their positions, so they all can continue bilking the people. Mayor Chavarria is obviously more interested in lining his own pockets, rather than providing his constituents with daily water service.

Effective change can only be instituted with changes in leadership. President Solis is the one who can initiate these changes, but that will take him going on the offensive against these entrenched and corrupt public officials of Santa Cruz, who are only interested in personal gain.

0 0

Oh, Noble Alcalde, unlike the patience of your peones, water is not an abundance resource on the Nicoya Peninsula.

0 0