Shopping for water tank in Costa Rica. Photo:  Jorge Castillo, La Nacion
Shopping for water tank in Costa Rica. Photo: Jorge Castillo, La Nacion

QCOSTARICA – The driest months of the year forces many families in Costa Rica to incur additional expenses, to store drinking water safely and hygienically ensuring water is both clean and safe to drink and ensure constant water flow in their homes.

The Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) – water utility, warned that water rationing of up 12 hours daily, especially in the higher elevations, will be part of daily life staring at the end of the month.

In the worst case scenario, more than 400.000 homes in the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) will suffer water outages until April.

Many are looking into ways of ensure water by installing external water tanks. The cost varies on the capacity and type.

The AyA recommends an in ground concrete tank system using a pressure or motor pump.

This is usually the most expensive option (installation and energy to drive the pump), but usually have a longer life and being underground it offers space saving and aesthetics.

The other option, also recommended by the AyA, is an elevated tank (preferrable plastic or fiberglass), whose pumping depends on gravity. This type of tank requires the building of a base, typically of metal or wood, to hold it.

Plastic or fibreglass tanks can also be set at ground level or buried, lessening the cost to base and reinforcements. However, with this system there is the cost of running (energy) and maintaining (repair and/or replacement of) the pump.


And the size? The AyA recommends a home tank to supply at least a half day. A a person in typical home in the GAM consumes about 160 liters of water daily, to supply a family of four they would require 640 liters per day.

Layer-5Cost? Shopping around is always the best policy, but prepared to spend from a few hundred thousand colones to a million or more for a 5.000 liter tank.

Avoid mosquitoes. In all cases, the tank should be covered or sealed. Roberto Castro, director of Health Surveillance of the Ministry of Health, warns that the tanks should have tight lid to prevent the water from getting dirty and mosquito breeding. The expert recommends checking the tank a couple of times a week.

Castro says the tank should circulate the water, ie. the water from the line enters from the top and is taken out from the bottom. There are also chemicals that can be used to control larvae, pills that should be put once every three months.

Source: With report from La Nacion

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