Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve increases 443 hectares.
- President of the Republic emphasized that the reservoir is the only way to guarantee a permanent supply of water to Guanacaste communities.
- President Carlos Alvarado said: “There is no project without the reservoir.”
In mid-October, the law to modify the Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve´s boundaries was signed by President of the Republic Carlos Alvarado and by the Environment Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez.
These modifications in the natural reserve form part of the Water Supply System for the Mid-river Basin of the Tempisque River and Coastal Communities (PAACUME), a strategy to provide solutions for water shortages.
The executive authorities signed the law at a ceremony in the Casa Presidencial, which included other officials as well as deputies of the Guanacaste Water Commission, mayors and representatives of various social sectors.
The reserve will be enlarged from 2,645 to 3,088 hectares, an increase of approximately 17 percent. According to Alvarado, this variable will enable the construction of the Río Piedras reservoir as a water reserve permanently guaranteeing the water supply for human consumption and irrigation within the Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya cantons. At the signing ceremony, Nuria Maria Chavarría, a Carrillo resident, shared her experience as a small agricultural producer and expressed her hope for this project that, in her opinion, will transform the lives of many producers from Guanacaste, a locale historically affected by droughts.
President Alvarado stated that the bill meets the Guanacaste province’s needs, a priority for its water supply. “There is no project without the reservoir,” he explained, after highlighting that Río Piedras marks the critical route of the PAACUME project, the only way to guarantee a permanent supply of water.
The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Renato Alvarado, added that the Development Plan associated with the project will enable local producers from Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya to grow 26 new products, including avocado, root and tuber crops, citrus as well as other vegetables and fruits.
“In addition, agricultural producers will be able to manufacture hay bales, both for their own farm use, as well as for trade. Both situations will allow them to produce more cattle per area and feed them better, adding the possibility of getting hay to market faster,” he explained. Minister of Environment and Energy, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, pointed out that the water comes from a national park, an added benefit.
The law —signed late October— complies with the requirements established in the Ramsar Convention and the Law of Biodiversity and adds a wetland for Lomas Barbudal, which is currently lacking one.
For her part, the General Manager of the Costa Rican National Service of Underwater, Irrigation and Drainage (SENARA), Patricia Quirós, stressed that the impact generated by the irrigation in Guanacaste, through the Arenal Tempisque Irrigation District (DRAT), in the cantons of Abangares, Cañas, Bagaces and Liberia, will produce approximately $200 million per year.
PAACUME impacts in Guanacaste
It will generate 20,000 liters of surface water per second, available for several uses.
Within the communities of Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya, 500,000 people will be supplied with fresh water, with projected growth for the next 50 years.
Even in periods of drought, 18,800 hectares could be irrigated throughout the year.
700 agricultural producers of the Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Carrillo communities will adapt their farms to climate change.
The Río Piedras Dam would generate power to supply approximately 10,000 homes. .
Groundwater will be replaced by surface water, resulting in coastal aquifers´ recovery.
Promotes the ecosystems´ sustainability within the project´s area because water remains over time.