LACIF contributes to the preparation of sanitation infrastructure projects in seven Costa Rican cities

Costa Rica
July 10, 2024

The Project “Improved sanitation for people and the environment in Costa Rica” has successfully concluded, laying the base for future economic efficient and ecological sustainable wastewater treatment infrastructure projects in seven cities in Costa Rica that are expected to contribute to improving the living conditions of around 230,000 persons living in Jacó, Quepos, Golfito, Palmares, Sardinal-El Coco, Gran Puntarenas and Tamarindo and to reducing risks for both the environment and public health.

According to UN Water, only 14% of wastewater was treated in Costa Rica as of 2018. The disposal of untreated water into water bodies or in septic tanks can cause groundwater contamination and public health problems. This remains a major issue, particularly in small and medium-sized cities of the Costa Rican Pacific region, where tourism is a significant economic activity. To tackle this situation, the Costa Rican Government approved the National Policy for Wastewater Treatment (2017 – 2030) and the National Plan for Investments in Sanitation (2016 - 2045), both of which were considered to design the above-mentioned project.

The “Improved sanitation for people and the environment in Costa Rica” project started in December 2017 and foresaw consulting services that would enable the Costa-Rican Aqueduct and Sewage Institute (AyA[1]) to prepare the construction and rehabilitation orexpansion of sewage systems and wastewater treatment plants in the framework of its “Sanitation Program in Prioritized Areas”. The European Union contributed to its pre-investment phase with EUR 3.67 million via LACIF, financing in particular the elaboration of feasibility studies, final designs, electromechanical designs as well as capacity building for AyA. In this way, the EU grant provided to AyA through the German development bank KfW, significantly contributed to a more timely conclusion of the pre-investment phase of the Program and to increase AyA’s capacity with regard to the preparation of wastewater treatment projects.

Once the infrastructure will be built and operational, it is estimated that it will considerably improve environmental conditions and create positive impacts on public health as well as contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

[1] Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados.