Looming water crisis prompts an increase in rates

There is another crisis that is going to cost consumers money.

The nation’s regulatory agency said it is planning an emergency increase in the cost of water in order to encourage the public to save it.

The Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos said that the additional charge will be a progressive one that is applied to a customer’s monthly bill after 13 cubic meters of water has been used.

That amount is 3,434 gallons

The Autoridad said that there was a reduction of from 10 to 25 percent in rainfall in 2012 and the same is expected for this year. It cited a report from the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional.

The Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillado, the water company, has been trying to store more water, but the possibility of rationing exists in the Central Valley during the remainder of the dry season, which ends in June, said the agency.

An international study in 2012 said that the average human consumption of water in Costa Rica was 1,490 cubic meters, about 393,616 gallons, said the Autoridad. This is greater than the world average of 1,385 or about 365, 878 gallons, it said.

The Authoridad attributed the water crisis also to economic growth, a greater demand for water in general and productive activities. It also promised medium- and long-term remedies. The short-term remedy is in increasing the rates so residents use less water.

In the medium- and long-term, Acueductos y Alcantarillado is promising to control leaks and crack down on illegal connections. The government firm also said it will take advantage of existing wells and improve the distribution system.

The firm also is suggesting well-known methods of saving water, such as watering plants at night and putting a brick or sealed bottle of water inside the toilet tanks. It also said that someone could save from 10 to 12 liters by using a glass for water while brushing teeth instead of having the faucet run. That is around three gallons.

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