President Carlos Alvarado communicated yesterday the approval of a loan by the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) for a total of $425 million for the Project: System of Water Supply for the Mid Basin of the Tempisque River and Coastal Communities (PAACUME) for the benefit of the counties of Nicoya, Santa Cruz and Carrillo.
Alvarado also detailed that this is the most important credit from CABEI in favor of the country and the interest rate is of 5.4% annually. The credit must still receive the authorization from the Legislative Assembly since its an international debt.
The approval of this credit means supplying water to an area that is historically dry and that for reasons of variability and climate change has increased its condition of drought in many cases to extreme drought. It will provide drinking water to approximately 500 thousand people and will allow the irrigation of some 1,875 hectares.
The plan is to build a dam in the Piedras River (Presa Rio Piedras) with a maximum height of 40 meters (131 feet) and an extension of 485 meters (1591 feet), located 53.5 meters (175.5 feet) above sea level to create a reservoir for water supply all year long. The cost of this dam is estimated in $142.5 million.
It also contemplates the construction of a 55 kilometer (35 miles) long canal with a width between 16-20 meters (52-65 feet) from Piedras River to the community of Palmira that will allow to move 20 cubic meters of water per second.
Finally, the construction of a distribution network of 350 kilometers in extension between primary, secondary and tertiary canals.
The initiative also requires an approval by the Legislative Assembly for the use of 133 hectares of the Lomas de Barbudal Biological Reserve since these would be affected by the watering canals with the purpose of bringing water to 18,800 hectares in the counties of Carrillo, Santa Cruz and Nicoya. This will be compensated by purchasing 531 hectares of land next to the Reserve as it is stated in Bill 20,465.
The project will provide in its construction phase 1,313 temporary jobs and 20,563 permanent jobs in the operation stage.
“We have a commitment to solving the water problem in Guanacaste, with the purpose of ensuring a comprehensive management of the water resource in the country, and in particular in this province that is so important for the social and economic development of Costa Rica”, concluded the President.