Freshwater resource development: case studies from Puerto Rico and Costa Rica

TitleFreshwater resource development: case studies from Puerto Rico and Costa Rica
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsPringle, CM, Scantena, FN
EditorHatch, U, Swisher, ME
Book TitleTropical managed ecosystems: the Mesoamerican experience
PublisherOxford University Press
CityOxford, UK
Accession NumberLUQ.501
KeywordsCosta Rica, ecosystem sustainability, freshwater resource, land use, Puerto Rico, watersheds

The history of freshwater resource development and associated environmental problems in both Puerto Rico and Costa Rica illustrates how geography, climate, ecology, human population growth, and political and economic factors like globalization have interacted to shape water resource issues. The effects of these factors on aquatic resources and the ecosystem's sustainability are examined for specific regions of each country in two separate case studies. The first deals with conflicts between water use and the retention of biological integrity in the Caribbean National Forest of Puerto Rico. The second documents changing land use and aquatic deterioration in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. The circumstances presented in these two case studies show how increases in human population and land use activities are threatening forested watersheds and associated water resources throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. The case studies from Puerto Rico and Costa Rica illustrate the seriousness of water resource deterioration in Latin America and the Caribbean. Both quantitiy and quality of water are critical issues. The need for adequate baseline information is urgent. Formulation of adequate regulations and laws and, even more important, enforcement of the laws and regulations that already exist are key to maintaining water resources for future generations.