Costa Rica: Trees counter water scarcity

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Costa Rica's water supply system is under strain. On some days the taps run dry by noon. One reason is the poor state of much of the country's water infrastructure, especially in urban areas. San Jose, the capital, has grown rapidly and is now home to around 75% of the entire population.

A bigger issue is the state of Costa Rica's rivers. Over the years, rainfall levels have decreased and dry periods have become longer. At the same time, deforestation has depleted important groundwater sources. Many of the rivers that still flow have been poisoned with chemicals from farms or industry.

It is these farmers who are in a key position to help fight the country's water problems by working more sustainably. Part of this means using fewer chemicals and not cutting down trees in the first place. It also means planting more trees and rotating crops or animals to let the ground regenerate.

Now an initiative is bringing these ideas together and encouraging farmers to combine pastures and trees, so they can enjoy shade in some places and help conserve water. It is a sustainable idea that can be exported to many neighboring countries.

A film by Linda Vierecke

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6.01 min

Date of publication

Costa Rica


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Global Ideas

Global Ideas
The television reports and documentaries of Deutsche Welle's 'Global Ideas' media project provide people all over the world with information on model projects which implement biodiversity and climate protection. The media project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety through the International Climate Initiative.