QCOSTARICA – Residents in Moravia and Guadalupe took to the streets literally, blocking traffic between both communities Thursday evening in protest against the lack of potable water they have been experiencing for several days.
The protesters complained about the absence of the precious liquid for four days and although they point out that rationing has been customary during the dry season, they have never seen consecutive days without water.
On national television, a protester explained that the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) – water and sewer utility – has been turning on water for a few minutes and then off for hours at a time.
The residents complain that the situation prevents them from cooking, cleaning and bathing, among other things water is used in the home.
AyA officials claim that they reached agreements with community leaders, however, the residents say they are unaware of the existence of such agreements and decided to intensify pressure actions.
Through a press release, the AyA justified the lack of water due to the flooding of the rivers due to the heavy rains of recent days, which have affected the flow that supplies the Guadalupe water treatment plant, taking it out of operation.
Lucía Yglesias, deputy manager of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM) systems at the AyA, said that the Goicoechea aqueduct is having problems that “exceed the operational limits” and alleged that on Wednesday a rush of river water uncoupled one of the pipes and caused the collapse of the water intake, which left the plant without production and the tanks empty.
Among the agreements that according to the AyA had been adopted was defining the affected communities to establish supply routes with tanker trucks and coordinate schedules; the Municipal Police provide escort for the tankers; placement of community tanks at points defined by the local government of Goicoechea to supply the population; communicate the schedules for the use of said tanks; and with respect to billing, that the AyA would coordinate with the community leaders the list of those affected to analyze each case and make the reduction in their bills.
Elizabeth Salas, spokesperson for the protest movement, confirmed that these points were addressed in the morning meeting but that it did not obtain the expected results.
By late Thursday afternoon, the AyA published on its website that the Mata de Plátano Plant was back on in operation, but It would take time to recover levels in the tanks to restart distribution in all areas.
The AyA said it expects service would be returned to normal by this morning, Friday.