Overview Introduction Project Scope Surface Water Groundwater Importance of hydrology in ecological systems Environmental Flow Analysis Stakeholder Analysis Law and Policy Framework Analysis Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Scoping Questions Are the proposed environmental flows adequate for maintaining the ecological integrity of the Tempisque River? What changes in the Legal/Policy framework are necessary to implement an environmental flow? What tools can be developed to enhance our understanding of the system?
Surface Water Principle flow contributions precipitation return flows from irrigation District groundwater 72% of rain from June to November Floods in the wet season Low/No flow during the dry season Available data is limited
Groundwater Often, groundwater is the only source of potable water for population centers Over the last decade, 93% increase in well construction. Over 9,886 estimated wells Aquifers over-exploited Extensive tourism development Municipal Use Agricultural production Yet… VERY LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT THE AQUIFERS
Importance of Hydrology in Ecological Systems The hydrologic regime: Shapes the evolution, distribution, and stability of aquatic biota and ecological processes Retention of sediments and organic matter Pollutant transport Water depth and temperature Available dissolved oxygen for aquatic life. Can alter riparian habitats.
Environmental Flow Environmental flows should consider minimum amount of flow variation in flow regimes low flows seasonal highs flood peaks extraordinary events Environmental Flows Should be legally defensible scientifically defensible administratively feasible Human Needs Ecological Health
Stakeholder Analysis Agriculture Industry Subsistence Users Local and Federal Governments AyA MINAET MINSA SENARA SETENA ICE Local communities Aquaculture Tourism Fishing Industry (Gulf of Nicoya)
Current Water Law MINAET grants the concessions Concessions (required for all uses except domestic) Only two criteria Duration = 30 years max Creates a hierarchy of priorities for competing applicants (but – based on values 1940’s values) Existing users still entitled to use water (even if they cant prove acquisition of use was legal)
Problems with the Current Framework The Water Law is old The hierarchy established is out of date No institutional coordination They operate pursuant to their own self-interested regulations SENARA’s Fee for Irrigation water No incentive for conservation or efficiency No procedure for establishing environmental flow
Why Advocate for the Passage of New Water Bill? Facilitates Institutional Coordination (Creates NDWR) Decisions made in consideration of hydrologic basin scale Establishes a hierarchy of uses (like the current law) BUT these uses are determined by standards set by each Hydrologic Unit Maximum concession duration = 20 years Establishes procedure for setting environmental flow “flow required to satisfy permanent ecosystem needs”
Traditional Ecological Knowledge “All types of knowledge about the environment derived from the experiences and traditions of a particular group of people". (Esselman, Opperman, 2000)
Citizen Driven Data Collection People have a vested interest in water management Data is limiting factor in decision-making Take advantage of Traditional Ecological Knowledge Train citizens to collect data about surface water and groundwater Simple methods Groundwater levels River Stage Flow velocity Establish a central data base to store collected data so it is available to stakeholders
Take Home Message Proposed environmental flow methodology is sound New water legislation should be passed to facilitate better water management TEK and Citizen Driven science may be able to fill the huge gaps in understanding of the system