The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) granted a loan for an amount of US$111.13 million to the Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (AYA) to partially finance the execution of the "Potable Water and Sanitation in Coastal Zones, Quality Management and Service Efficiency Program."
The program is composed of the construction project for the new National Water Laboratory and five water sanitation projects, namely:
• Improvements to the Guácimo de Limón Aqueduct;
• Improvements to the Limón Potable Water Supply System, Stage II;
• Improvements and Expansion of the aqueduct system of Jacó, Garabito, Stage II;
• Improvements to the Aqueduct of Quepos and Manuel Antonio, Stage II;
• Construction of sanitary sewer in Moín, Limón
The Moín sanitation project includes the construction of a Sanitary Sewer Network and Wastewater Treatment Plant. Currently, the population is in a protected area, where the springs of the area are located. There is no treatment for wastewater that is collected in septic tanks, therefore, the project will have a significant impact on the reduction in the water table contamination of these springs. 93% of the population will have access to the sanitary sewer system.
With regard to Stage II of the Limón supply system project with an investment of more than US$61.0 million dollars, its current production is at the limit of its capacity and water quality is variable; this includes the current capacity of wells, pumping and potabilization. The system also has insufficiencies in its storage capacity to have adequate pressure zones. This improvement will bring wellbeing and quality service to more than 132 thousand inhabitants of Limón.
The projects for improvements in potable water supply in Guácimo, Jacó, Quepos and Manuel Antonio involve rehabilitation, reconstruction and expansion of the main elements, such as pipes, storage tanks, pumping stations and potable water treatment plants, incorporating an unaccounted water reduction mechanism and efficient and automated operation of the service. The short-term direct benefit of these projects will reach in more than 147 thousand inhabitants in the target areas.
Finally, the National Water Laboratory's infrastructure is more than 75 years old and not entirely suitable for studies, trials and research related to the work of an ideal and modern laboratory in line with the current accreditation approaches.
The construction of the new National Water Laboratory will enable an increased productivity, implementation, research and development of trials, analysis and studies with state-of-the-art and innovative technology to ensure an adequate supply of water for human consumption, as well as sanitation and wastewater, thus guaranteeing the improvement and sustainability of water quality, a reduction of pollution and better working conditions and safety for employees and users.
The program falls under the framework of the focus area denominated Human Development and Social Development Infrastructure, which is part of the Social Development Axis of the 2015-2019 CABEI Institutional Strategy, "Integrating Sustainable Development and Competitiveness." Likewise, it is also part of the CABEI Regional Water and Sanitation Program, which aims to improve the quality of life of Central Americans through access to basic services, such as potable water and sanitation.
The program also contributes to the fulfillment of three of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 1 - End poverty in all its forms throughout the world; Goal 3 - Ensure a healthy life and promote welfare for all at all ages; and Goal 6 - Ensure water availability and its sustainable management and sanitation for all.
In this regard, CABEI Country Manager for Costa Rica, Mauricio Chacón, stated that, "The development of these projects gives an important boost to the quality of life of Costa Rican citizens in rural areas with a high impact on the health and economy of these populations, while also promoting efficiency, quality and the significant contribution that these projects provide to the environment. CABEI is committed to supporting institutions, such as AyA, whose projects and management significantly impact on the economic development of the country's rural areas, inclusion and poverty reduction."
The Program is a priority for the country, since it represents social investment in basic infrastructure of aqueducts and sewage systems and service quality management at the national level, especially to important populations of the provinces of Limón and Puntarenas.