208644 Culture of water in the Monteverde zone

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jillian Papa , The New York Academy of Medicine, Howard Beach, NY
Jennifer Syvertsen , University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
The purpose of this study is to understand perceptions of water use and availability in the Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica. Monteverde is a world renowned ecotourism destination that was founded on ideals of conservation and the region receives plentiful rainfall throughout the majority of the year. Despite this, the region frequently experiences water shortages and there is concern that the rapid growth of tourism may exacerbate water availability issues in the future. Within this context, we documented water availability and water use practices by households and hotels, explored perceptions of the impact of tourism on water resources in the region, and investigated the economic and social impacts of water scarcity in the community. We used a mixed methods approach, including participant observation, photo documentation, and structured and semi-structured interviews. We analyzed quantitative data with SPSS and used a grounded theory approach in the analysis of qualitative data. Our results confirm what has previously been identified as a “culture of water use” in the Monteverde Zone: that water is perceived as an unlimited natural resource due to its abundance in the region. Interviewees suggested the need for greater government and community support, that hotels should adapt new conservation technology, and more effective organization, oversight, and support from the government would be beneficial.

Learning Objectives:
1. List three reasons why water resources are sometimes scarce in the Monteverde Zone, Costa Rica. 2. Describe one feature of the "culture of water use" in Monteverde. 3. List three things tourists can do to be more eco-conscious of their water use.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a bachelors in International Studies and will be working towards my MPH this fall. I conducted research with my colleague Jennifer in Costa Rica this past summer. Jennifer is enrolled in a dual degree program of MPH and a PhD in Anthropology.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.