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J Water Health 1 June ; 16 3: Vegas-Las Palmas is a rural settlement located in the southern Caribbean region of Costa Rica on the border with Panama. Its population does not have access to potable water, and inhabitants depend on water from wells at the water table level to meet their needs. These wells lack basic infrastructure to protect this water from contamination.
The results revealed high concentrations of faecal coliforms and Escherichia coli with maximum values of 4. In addition, maximum values of pH, conductivity, turbidity, Ca, Mg, K, Fe, Mn, Cd and Pb were found to be outside the standard limits nationally and internationally for potable water. Possible sources of water contamination are associated with the geomorphological characteristics of the area, as well as with hydrometeorological and anthropogenic factors such as the lack of sewerage, the presence of latrines, animals near the wells and the use of agrochemicals.
The water quality was heterogeneous among wells, and all of them were found to have conditions that caused water to be unfit for human consumption. Access to safe and good quality drinking water is a human right Montreal International Forum However, approximately million people around the world still lack basic access to safe drinking water Fanucchi Water supply per person should be continuous and sufficient for personal and domestic use but must also be free of microorganisms, chemical substances and radiological hazards which pose a threat to human health UN The lack of drinkable water, inadequate management of water resources, presence of pathogenic organisms, and lack of sanitation and hygiene eventually increase the presence of diseases that can affect human health Sorline et al.
In order to reduce the impacts of these sources of pollution, better management of the water supply is necessary, incorporating good practices from the source of supply to the consumer Sorline et al. In addition, extreme hydrometeorological changes caused by climate change may affect water quality, especially surface water Jovanelly et al. Developing countries have made significant progress in access to and coverage of potable water. Particularly in Costa Rica, the percentage of the population with access to water in their homes was Thus, there are still marginal communities that do not have access to potable water, many of which are in areas of high vulnerability to natural disasters and with limited access to public services Bower This information contrasts with Article 50 of the Constitution , which states that access to a sanitary water supply is a fundamental right derived from the right to life and health, and should be seen as a public service that cannot be denied, through either inaction by the government or the actions of the provider.
One of this communities enduring difficult conditions is Vegas-Las Palmas parcels in Sixaola. There, the inhabitants obtain water of uncertain quality and quantity from different sources. These sources include wells in poor condition, river water and rainwater; none of this water undergoes treatment that guarantees its fitness for human consumption.