COSTA RICA NEWS – The ocean phenomenon El Niño has hit this country hard, especially the Central Valley where the majority of the population resides and in North Pacific area where cattle ranchers fear pastures will be depleted. It is even worse farther north in southwestern Nicaragua where cattle are being sold off for lack of green pasture.
The worst of it is that the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional (IMN) – national weather service, predicts that rainfall will continue to be scarce throughout September and October, normally the two rainiest months of the year. But even non-farmers are afraid that water levels in the hydroelectric dams around the nation will be at low levels, causing rationing and high electrical rates.
Marine fauna in the Pacific Ocean are fleeing warmer shallow water along the coasts as are pelagic species of fish like shark and dorado. Only the Caribbbean slope has received near normal rainfall. Although afternoons see cloudy conditions, the clouds drop little or no rain.
When the Central Pacific region gets too warm, an effect of El Niño, this country experiences a marked decline of rainfall. Ominously, the situation is now similar to the massive 1982 drought where the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was called in to drill new and deeper wells in Guanacaste province.
On that occasion, aircraft “sowed” the clouds with silver nitrate to try to wring rain out of them, with mixed results. In more rain friendly times, wells in Guanacaste were dug by hand but there was no chance of them being deep enough and the Engineer Corps used mechanical drills.
Ministry of Agriculture advisor Ezequiel Garcis says that the ministry is contemplating remedial methods that are quite drastic, besides building temporary dams to hoard the water. Cattle may have to be transferred to water zones or fed on portable foods like molasses and hay.
But Costa Rica is not the only country to feel the pinch. La Nacion reported that Chile, Peru, Ecuador and The Philippines also are beginning to feel the effects.
Article by iNews.co.cr, reposted with permission