Tico Times: Water Controversy in Monteverde

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Jan 24th, 2005, 03:36 AM
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Tico Times: Water Controversy in Monteverde

Thought this article might be of general interest. . .

Monteverde Rises to
Defend its Water
By María Gabriela Díaz
Tico Times Staff
[email protected]

A threat to their water resources and biodiversity led concerned residents of the Quaker community and cloud forest preserve of Monteverde, in the north-central region of the country, to the streets in a protest that lasted from Thursday to Saturday.

The more than 150 people gathered on the streets of the town on Friday seek to end drilling and construction of a pipeline that is designed to draw 18 liters of water per second from two streams located in Monteverde and the neighboring town of Santa Helena, according to President of the Monteverde Aqueduct, Rolando McAdam.

“We are concerned the streams will dry and our biodiversity will be damaged,” McAdam told The Tico Times yesterday, adding that normally, 5-12.65 liters of water are extracted from the streams per second.

McAdam explained the town of Monteverde has approximately 4,000 residents, and 18 liters per second is an amount that should be extracted in a much larger town, of at least 30,000 residents.

A water concession was granted to eight Monteverde businesspeople without an environmental impact study, according to McAdam.

“These people are going to use the extra water for their own businesses,” he said.

The Tico Times tried to contact two of the businessmen, Giovanni Arguedas, of Hotel Sapo Dorado and Johnny Guzmán, but they were not available.

“Citizens are concerned about the destruction of a biodiversity that attracts more than 200,000 tourists to the spot each year,” said Vera Belmar, owner of Belmar Hotel in Monteverde. “Monteverde is recognized by National Geographic as one of the 10 most beautiful places in the world, and this situation is an environmental violation,” Belmar said.

Biologist and Monteverde resident Robert Carlson said the drilling was temporarily stopped by the National Roadway Council (CONAVI) Saturday, and Monday, Monteverde residents will meet with representatives of the Ombudsman's Office in San José who will study their case.
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