Water. A precious commodity on the Nicoya Peninsula

When you turn on the tap to wash some dishes or have a lovely long morning shower, you should think twice about the volume of unnecessary water you are consuming.

If you live on the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, or indeed some other coastal areas in the country, you think about how much water you are using every day.



The reason for this is that there is no mains water system. This means that pretty much every house, restaurant and hotel has its own well and pumps water each day into it’s own tanks. Infact some don’t even have wells and they pay to have water delivered each week, often several times a week.

It is illegal to sell the actual water but transportation and delivery costs are incurred. They are about $40 per 5000 litres, and this can add up to a huge cost week on week during the dry or summer season.

I found it a strange concept to get my head around when we first arrived here, that is until we ran out of water. It’s very odd waiting a day until water is delivered to fill up your tank so that you can wash your clothes. Weird but a very important lesson that everyone should experience in order to change your usual consumption habits.

Water is treated almost like gold here, a precious commodity and something therefore to use sparingly. When you start changing your “London” water habit, as I did, you learn how to wash up differently, don’t leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth and take quick showers.

It’s only when something is taken away from you, can you really appreciate it and we or rather I, had taken water for granted for too long.  Right now, the rains have started. The trees and plants are happy and all wells are full until December kicks in and the rains stop for four or five months. That’s a long time with no water in the ground.

There is an ambitious aqueduct programme planned for the whole area between Manzanillo and Mal Pais. This has been talked about for the last five years or so, and I believe that it will arrive within the next 12 months.

Whilst this is of course a good thing, it is also a bad thing in terms of the development of the Peninsula. One of the reasons that the area is so special is that it is growing, slowly. No big hotels or them parks would come here because of the lack of infrastructure, notably water. With a mains supply things will change, land prices will increase and more development for certain.

Time will tell how it will affect the area and its population too but it has totally reprogrammed how I think of water and I hope it does for you too.

This post was written exclusively for www.wanderingeducators.com. I am the Costa Rican editor for the website and write monthly for them.



Dahlia Nahome is the Costa Rica editor for Wandering Educators.

As well as running her rental business, www.costaricanvacation.com

and www.purasonica.com (a global internet radio station and whats on guide for the area), she also enjoys writing about and raising the profile of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and has work published on various travel blogs.

You may reach her at dahlia at costaricanvacation dot com.

5 thoughts on “Water. A precious commodity on the Nicoya Peninsula

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