In the mountains of northern Costa Rica, communities who had long thought of water as an inexhaustible resource have begun to see a reduction in quality and quantity of this vital liquid. The cloud forests have been continually destroyed to make room for farm land and urban growth. However, through the reforestation of lands surrounding their water sources, ecological loans to reclaim their watershed, and the involvement of all members of the community, the people of Río La Balsa are fighting to protect a quality of life they have enjoyed for generations. While these communities once only worried about the quality of their pipes and tanks, they are now all aware that the quality of the water itself can not be taken for granted. To ensure potable water for all, it will require much more than just a tube.

This project was created in association with the Nectandra Institute ( and the Communities of Rio La Balsa. Nectandra has been working with the communities by providing educational support of for the headwaters of the San Carlos Watershed. Together Nectandra and the Communities of the Rio La Balsa have been able to make strides in the preservation not only of the watershed but also the community’s access to clean and plentiful water.


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