Sunday, June 11, 2017

El Agua es la Vida - Water is Life

Water is the most sacred and valuable resource in the American West. Growing up in Colorado, we are conditioned early on to conserve this precious resource. We are trained to follow the flow of the mighty Colorado River and watch the snowpack diligently, analyzing the accumulation for the upcoming water year. The tropics of Costa Rica defy all what I’ve come to know about water. I find myself struggling with my preconceptions of the rivers, the ecosystems surrounding, and the people who depend upon it. I’ve trekked through the Rocky Mountains chasing the rivers that support my secluded lifestyle, and now I navigate through the Costa Rican jungle following Rio Bellavista, in search of understanding how they use water and make the river work for them. The top of the ridge along the edge of the property is host to a fresh mountain spring. The quality of the water has been preserved with a clever tank and plants (that do not translate to English well) that oxygenate the water. From there, gravity works for the Ticas (Costa Ricans) of The Finca and the pipes take water along and down the ridge into larger storage tanks that then distribute the water to the houses across the several hundred acres. This system is simple yet effective and provides water to guests and staff of The Finca throughout the busy months in high season. The tanks can then be filled in a sequential order by a simple toilet like fill system. There is additional tanks at base camp in which collect rainwater and is stored and used as graywater (In the toilets in the Rancho and shoers at base camp). This is a critical system for additional water needs during peak season. There is also hope to increase efficiency and sustainability through a 60 KW hydroelectric system, however there are legality issues concerning the river and the need to alter the channel to be at desired capacity. The Finca is pushing sustainability for a growing community and conserving the most precious resource.

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