Blue Flag Program for the Watershed
Restoring Our Watershed is a small organization – our reach is extended through local and international partnerships. One of our priorities has been to establish one of these partnerships with a committee led and managed by Ticos (Costa Ricans) so that we have a local counterpart congruent with our focus in the watershed. Fortunately, Costa Rica’s Programa Bandera Azul Ecológica, or Ecological Blue Flag Program (PBAE), recently established a framework by which watershed committees can be organized. PBAE is a program run by several different ministries, including those overseeing national water resources (AyA), tourism (ICT), environmental protection (MINAE), health (Ministerio de Salud), telecommunications (ICE) and education (MEP). It was started in 1995 and only was available to beach communities. Since then, the program has added new categories, one of which is for watersheds. In order to achieve the Bandera Azul (Blue Flag), the communities must form a PBAE committee, which works to reduce the amount of contamination in a water source and carry out educational initiatives. If the committee successfully achieves objectives laid out in their work plan, they are awarded a Blue Flag of varying degrees (1-4 stars). The Blue Flag committee in our watershed is made of 7 members from various communities in the valley, who are working to analyse and create a plan for restoring the Nandamojo River.
WE DID IT!
The Blue Flag committee for the watershed was awarded the distinction of "Bandera Azul" with one star for their work in the Nandamojo Watershed in 2012. This is the highest level achievable for a committee's first year of work. The group members were thrilled to bring home the flag, which will be installed at the entrance to our watershed in 27 de Abril.