According to El Financiero, a water shortage in Costa Rica has caused the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA) to limit real estate development approvals in certain areas.
The AyA supplies water to a little less than half of Costa Rica’s population. Other sources of water come from community-managed reservoirs, which serve between a quarter to a third of the population and have been told to register with the government. Many communities missed the Sept. 1 deadline to register, and are now being denied construction permits until they do so.
A backlog of applications with the AyA means that approvals could take until February or March.
Hotel and construction groups are blaming government mismanagement for the backlog and the resulting delay of developments. They claim that the delay of developments is resulting in the loss of jobs and tourism in the country. Some hotels have stated that the cost of trucking in water for guests means that they will not be able remain in operation much longer.
Costa Rica’s agricultural sector is also struggling. At least US$19.3 million has been lost as a result of the water shortage, according to Costa Rican Agriculture and Livestock Minister Luis Felipe Arauz.
In the canton of Atenas residents have staged protests over the water shortage. It has been reported that residents in the canton have access to water for only three hours a day, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., and that public schools have been forced to regularly suspend classes as a result of the water shortage. The mayor of the canton claims that more than 60% of the population is affected by the water shortage, as reported by Inside Costa Rica.
Recent droughts in Costa Rica have exacerbated the problem, and a rising demand for water means that relief may not come any time soon.