Whether as a buyer or seller, the issue of water sources in a property is always an important aspect to discuss between both parties in a real estate transaction. In Costa Rica we have the great advantage that thanks to our vast environmental protection laws, we have been able to keep our water sources clean, in addition that we do not struggle with water shortages on a frequent basis. For our tourists and locals it is a great benefit since Costa Rica is classified within the countries that the water in the tube is drinkable, something that only we and Chile have the luxury of saying on a continental level. This is why the value of Costa Rica’s water is very high, even bottled and exported, and its quality is the best in Latin America.

The topic of water sources carries a lot of information that varies according to the circumstances in which the water source is located and the conditions of use, the breakdown of the following goes like this:

Surface Water

It is extremely important that if there are any of the following water presentations on your property, you report it to SENARA and get  registered. You should also take into account that you must adhere to the protection measures of each of them.

Water is a precious element of nature, which can be in short supply at times. That is why we must take care of the sources from which it can be provided by following these protection rules. In addition to the fact that in Costa Rica we pride ourselves on being a green country that rigorously protects the environment, so we invite you to be part of this culture by following the laws established for the protection of water and the environment.

If there are springs on your property, then you should take the following protection measures into account:

  • If the source is fixed: then it must have a radius of protection of 100m in all directions. A fixed spring is called when it is producing water continuously throughout the year, and not only seasonally.
  • If the spring is used for water consumption: it must have a radius of protection of 200m in all directions. Remember that in order to use the water, you must register the source with SENARA and have a concession that grants you permission to use this natural source.

If there is not only a source on your property but a river also comes from it, or a river passes within your property;

then it is important that you take into account the following protection measures:

  • If the terrain is flat: a strip is measured horizontally on both sides of fifteen meters in rural areas and ten meters in urban areas.
  • If the terrain is unleveled: a horizontal strip is still measured on both sides, only this is greater, since it must be fifty meters.

A lake and a lagoon are similar and therefore fall within the same category of protection. Like the reservoirs.

If there are any of them on your property, you must take into account the following protection laws:

  • In lakes, lagoons, or reservoirs of natural origin: they are given a protection area of 50m measured horizontally on the banks of each of these.
  • In lakes, lagoons, or reservoirs of artificial / private origin: like natural ones, they are given a 50m zone measured horizontally on their banks.

Impact on Real Estate

Having a source, a river or a lake within a property does not have any negative connotations. On the contrary: you have access to a natural resource! The reality of the processes to have a concession on this resource can be (as many processes here) somewhat extended, this does not detract from the value of the source that can be a source on your property. Whether you want to use it for your own consumption, crop irrigation, or packing and selling, the water source is always a source of life.

From the point of view of a transaction having a spring, river, or lake within the property; it can be a deciding factor in the sale of this. Either as a buyer or as a seller. The influence this has is on the purpose of the terrain. For example, if a property has a fixed spring then it has a radius of 100m of protection around it, in this territory no type of real estate construction can be built or developed. This applies in case you intend to buy or sell the property for commercial purposes, for example; make a condominium, an apartment tower, a mall, etc;

You will then find yourself with an impediment since a part of the property is protected land. That is why it is important to mention the presence of any of these source water presentations during the initial property transaction process.

In no way would this be a bad thing, you just have to give it a twist of purpose and seek the sale of the property in a sector more directed towards protection with the environment. This means that the common market for a property of this type is in ecotourism, tourism, agricultural or conservation farms, which can use the spring as a benefit on their property. If you have specific questions about what the options are if you have this type of water spring on your property, do not hesitate to contact Salomé Brenes, our Nativu expert advisor on the subject.

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Water is life, and therefore it is a resource with great potential for those who have access to this good. The protection laws on these should not be taken as an impediment to the sale or purchase of a property, but it is important to see them as the valuable regulations that they are and that they seek to protect our resources and the environment of the eco-friendly country that we are building. It takes a bit of effort and mindset adjustment for the transaction process of such a property, but it can always be done!