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.