National water company promises major improvements

The country has at least 19 urban water systems that are not sufficient for local needs or are deteriorating, according to the national water company, the Instituto Nacional de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.

The institute plans to spend nearly $900 million to resolve the problems, and the first stage that focuses mainly on the metropolitan area just received and additional $35 million in credit from the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica. That brings the proposed loans by the bank to  $68.5 million.

Two storage tanks are in the works, one in the west and one in the northeast of San José. There also are plans to replace the underground pipes and improve the treatment plants.

Projects also are planned on the water services of Pérez Zeldón, Quepos and Manuel Antonio, San Ramón and Palmares and the area south of Limón.

Also planned and part of the reason the Central American bank provides a credit line is a sewage system for the Puerto Viejo de Talamanca area.

Some residents of the Caribbean coast would prefer a water project instead of sewerage. There is water rationing, according to residents there, in Cocles and Playa Chiquita where the water comes from shallow local wells.

Private water delivery service is being used, according to correspondent Connie Foss.  Over the past several weeks, residents experienced sporadic cutoffs of the public water supply, and due to weeks of little or no rainfall, many wells are now dry and rainwater tanks are empty, she said.

Puerto Viejo and Manzanillo do not experience water shortages because their systems are connected to regular water sources in the Talamanca mountains.

A second round of projects includes improving the water storage capacities in Ciudad Cortés, Buenos Aires de  Puntarenas, Ciudad Neilly and Canoas, Palmar Norte, San Vito, Golfito, El Pasito de Alajuela, Atenas, Limón Centro, San Mateo, Jacó, Esparza, Nicoya and Liberia.

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