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Vol.18  No.1018 Thursday Edition, October 18, 2018
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Government announces project to
guarantee potable water in Guanacaste

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The government announced the signing of a law that allows the increase of the area of the Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve from 2,645 hectares to 3,088 hectares.

Part of the original land of the reserve will be appropriated by the government in order to build a reservoir.

According to government projections, "This modification, which increases the size of the reserve by approximately 17 percent, will allow the country to create the Río Piedras reservoir as a water reserve to guarantee a permanent supply for human consumption and irrigation to the cantons of Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya,” which are all in the Guanacaste Province.

President Carlos Alvarado says that "this law responds to the request of the province of Guanacaste to establish water supply as a priority, and the Río Piedras reservoir is the only way to guarantee a permanent supply of water."

The Minister of Agriculture Renato Alvarado spoke about the importance of the new reservoir for the producers of the area.

"The project will allow growers of Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya, to cultivate about 26 new products, such as avocado, roots, tubers, citrus, and vegetables, bales of hay, both for consumption on the farm and for commercialization, produce more cattle per area and have it better fed, with the possibility of getting it out faster to the market."

The Environment Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, confirmed that, "water comes from the biological reserve, whose objective is to produce benefits and water is one of them." This new law complies with the requirements established in the Ramsar Convention and the Law of Biodiversity, and also creates the Lomas Barbudal wetland.

According to the plan of the new Paacume reservoir, it would be capable of:

- Generating 20 thousand liters of water per second.

- The towns of Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya, about half a million people would be guaranteed potable water for the next 50 years.

- Even in a period of drought, 18,800 hectares could be irrigated during the year.

- 700 agricultural producers will be able to keep their production in good condition in Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Carrillo.

- The Piedras River Dam, which is included in this project, would generate energy to supply some 10,000 homes.

- The use of groundwater will be replaced by the use of surface water, which allows coastal aquifers to recover.


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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo


Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve is located 15 kilometers southwest of the Bagaces district in Guanacaste.


In July, a loan from the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE) was announced for $425 million to bring water for human consumption and for irrigation of crops, to three cantons of the province of Guanacaste.

According to the official statement, "The money will be invested in the Water Supply Project for the Tempisque River Basin and Coastal Communities (known as Paacume), which will benefit the cantons of Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Carrillo.”

The plan involves the construction of a dam on the Piedras River with a maximum height of 40 meters and a length of 485 meters. It will be 53.5 meters above sea level. The idea is to create a reservoir to store water for a full year. The dam itself will cost $142.5 million and will flood 850 hectares.

The project also foresees the construction of a 55 kilometer long canal, with a width between 16 and 20 meters, from the Piedras River to the town of Palmira. It is expected to transport 20 cubic meters of water per second. Construction will also include a network of water pipes with a total length of 350 kilometers.

According to the Tourism Institute, Lomas Barbudal Biological Reserve is located 15 kilometers southwest of the Bagaces district in Guanacaste.

The reserve serves as is a lure for those who study insects. It is rich with various species of butterflies and bees and with other insects that are considered to be endangered species. The reserve has a great variety of ecosystems but it dominated by the dry tropical forest. The most outstanding trees are the cocobolo, the "cristóbal" (Platymiscium dimorphandrum), and the gumbo-limbo, which are both odd and endangered species. It has also extended and varied wild fauna, formed by monkeys, squirrels, and badgers.


Disapproval of fiscal plan creates poor
image of Costa Rica, says AmCham


By A.M. Costa Rica staff


The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) criticized the disapproval of the new fiscal plan, known as Bill of Strengthening Public Finance.

The chamber has expressed “its deep concern” over the vote of the judges, not just for procedural issues, “but also because of the impact that this action will have and the insecurity it will generate in the international financial sector."

For AmCham, it is very worrisome that the magistrates have decided to send an inopportune and compromising message, far from the legal technique, which reflects a lack of sensitivity about the difficult economic moment that the country is going through.

Elías Soley, president of AmCham, states, "faced with what happened, it is alarming that it is not clear what would be an alternative plan.”

He expressed concern that being without a plan reflects poorly on Costa Rica and leaves the country in a difficult position vis-a-vis international rating agencies, access to credit, attracting investment and joining the OECD. 

He also stated that he believes that "It is time to complete the processes by making firm decisions which allow us to begin to overcome the fiscal crisis."

For the Chamber, the process of analysis of this new tax plan generates many negative signals which reach the international financial markets and risk rating agencies, directly affecting the image and competitiveness of the country.


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A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo
      

The chamber has expressed its deep concern
over the vote of the judges.



"Without a doubt, it is best to approve the fiscal plan, but in the understanding that we must work, immediately, on issues of public employment, size and efficiency of the state and institutions, seeking a structural reform of spending aimed at achieving the logical balance that we can cover what we spend with the income we generate," said Soley.

The Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) has been promoting investment and bilateral trade between the United States and Costa Rica since 1973. It is the largest binational chamber of commerce in Costa Rica.


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