Despite Being in Rainy Season, Costa Rica Presents a Rainfall Deficit; Situation Impacts Water and Electricity Supply

    Global climatic changes affect the country directly

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    Costa Rica is in the rainy season, however, the closing of the previous month reflects a larger deficit than expected, which will worsen in the quarter that includes August, September and October.As the authorities warned some time ago, this situation has and will have an impact on the water supply and electricity generation.

    According to data provided by Luis Alvarado, from the Climatology unit of the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), more than 50% of the country has had a meteorological drought since May.

    August data shows:

    South Pacific: -27% rain. In July, a 10% surplus was estimated for the following quarter.

    Northern Caribbean: -24% rain. In July, a surplus for the Caribbean side of the quarter was estimated at 10% to 15%.

    Southern Caribbean: -13% rain.

    Central Pacific: – 10%. A 15% decrease was forecast for the subsequent quarter.

    Central Valley: -3%. A deficit of 15% was forecast for August, September and October.

    North Zone: -7%. In July, a surplus of 10% to 15% was forecast for the quarter.

    North Pacific: +1% rain. In July, a maximum deficit of 20% was forecast.

    In green the areas where it rained more than average, in gray where it rained normally and in yellow-orange where it rained less than normal.

    “El Niño”

    Likewise, with regard to the Caribbean slope, it has been in drought for 20 months.“With the drought in the Caribbean, the situation becomes critical for the country given that the drought in the Pacific was added to it due to the El Niño phenomenon,” commented Alvarado.

    Since June, El Niño has been affecting Costa Rica and is expected to last until March 2024.Furthermore, among the effects it generates, deficit conditions stand out on the Pacific slope while in the Northern Zone and the Caribbean it is an excess of rain.

    The El Niño phase can also be moderate or intense and generate:

    Decrease in the formation of Tropical Cyclones

    High temperatures

    Deficit and excess of rain


    According to Marco Acuña, executive president of the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE), hydroelectric energy represents 65% of electricity generation.“In this way, a drop in rainfall impacts the way in which the country is supplied, the hydroelectric generation of the ICE and private plants is reduced,” Acuña explained.

    As a measure of preparation for this event, ICE has resorted to purchasing fuel such as bunker and electricity in markets in the region. In July, he noted that more than ¢50,000 million had been invested in this area.

    “The investment was made by cutting expenses in other areas, in addition we have the limit of the Fiscal Rule, which I would hope that next year we will be freed from the limit. Because the time may come when fuel cannot be purchased to meet demand,” he stressed.AyAThe Aqueduct and Sewer authorities (AyA) warned that an increase in rain that occurred in June-July was insufficient to recover the aquifers.

    According to the institution’s estimate, the most affected areas will be:

    North pacific

    North Zone



    Greater Metropolitan Area

    As part of the strategy to minimize the impact, there is the incorporation of flow, minimizing leaks, termination of projects and operational maneuvers that reduce shortages.

    According to the data presented by Acueductos on the behavior of the dry season in February, Guanacaste stood out, requiring urgent intervention due to the demand for liquid.

    For example, in Liberia, tanker trucks were used to supply the population. Other places such as Hojancha and Flamingo join this condition.“In these regions we are having atypical behavior and water consumption has skyrocketed, it could be due to hot conditions or tourism, but they need intervention,” commented Pamela Castro, AyA deputy manager on that occasion.Likewise, in the Caribbean, support was given to communities due to the large rainfall deficit in the area, which continues to exist.
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