event 08 Dec 2017

The Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Costa Rica // The Case of the Upper Reventazón River Basin (Spanish)

By Maureen Ballestero Vargas and Tania López Lee. This document analyzes the Nexus between water, energy and food in the Reventazón river basin in Costa Rica. The article focusses on the upper part of the basin, especially in the Northern area of the province of Cartago, because this is where the greatest Nexus conflicts and interrelationships can be found. This basin is strategically important for the development of the country and especially suitable for analysis of the Nexus interconnections.

Cover recursos naturales e infraestructura el nexo en costa rica

The Reventazón river basin is the largest source of electricity in the country. It provides water for the irrigation of 85% of the vegetable production of Costa Rica and has been supplying the drinking water needs of 25% of the population of the Greater Metropolitan Area (GAM). In addition, this is the only basin with specific legislation for the management of water and natural resources and with a basin organization, the Commission for the Management of the Reventazón River Basin (COMCURE).

The analysis of Nexus interrelations for the basin show that, even with the water wealth of the Reventazón river basin, there are growing conflicts due to competition for water, which have generated social mobilizations and the search for solutions.

The study identifies several problems around the Nexus, especially those of governance. Hence the need to break away from the sectoral visions with which public policies are traditionally addressed and conceived. The Nexus approach is based on the premise that a shared vision and consistent action in the management of natural resources allow progress towards a better balance between sectors, favor the development of the basin and can be a model to be followed by the administration of other basins in the country, where the multiple use of water is required.


Website of CEPAL (only in Spanish language)

Table of Content

  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • State of water resources, energy and agriculture nationwide
  • Characterization of the Reventazón river basin
  • Nexus in the Reventazón river basin: identification of interrelations
  • Nexus in the Reventazón river basin: analysis of priority interrelations
  • Conclusions


December 2017


United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC)

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