Help for Costa Rica’s Curridabat as green city

Published: 14 April 2020

Curridabat, a suburb of Costa Rica's capital San José, is a popular place to live. It has about 65,000 inhabitants and it is located in the river area of the Tiribi and the Rio Maria Aguilar. Particularly when there is heavy rainfall, Curridabat's location means it is susceptible to flooding.

Something needs to be done but the local authority also wants Curridabat to be a green city. It wants to maintain the natural river and the associated biodiversity so that, for example, it can store freshwater when there is a lot of rain for more difficult times.


Curridabat is now working on a master plan for water management. Deltares has drawn up an advisory report with suggestions for how to achieve that plan. Delft3D FM was deployed to model flooding in the area on two levels: the extent of problems with water in the city due to deficiencies in the drainage system, and river flooding caused by, in particular, heavy rainfall. This approach made it possible to identify pressing problems with water management and to put forward a number of recommendations for the city’s final master plan, such as investments in rain and river monitoring stations, and training professionals to use simulation models. That allows water management to be tailored more closely to the city’s biodiversity ambitions. The outcomes of the models were validated during field trips to six locations.

Obviously, Curridabat alone cannot restore the biodiversity of the entire river basin. The city hopes its approach will eventually inspire the other cities here.