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CentroJoe

Building Near a River

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Does anyone know where I would find the laws that relate to building near a river in Costa Rica? (Pool, Storage, room add-on, etc.)

I am trying to figure out how far from the rive behind a house I am looking I have to be for any add on...

 

thanks for any info!

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Thanks for the advice. The house is already built, but the yard goes back to a creek (not quite a river, unless it is raining like crazy :rolleyes:)

It has been there for almost 5 years and I was just wondering how much back yard I had to use for any add-ons...

 

thanks again

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If you haven't been on some of the bigger rivers, you probably haven't seen the boats along the shore tethered to trees 20 - 30 feet above water level, or the houses built on stilts even though the banks are 20 feet above the water level--want to guess what happens during the intense part of the rainy season ?? I was on one of these rivers in early July and the rains were relatively gentle, but the water was rising so fast that my friend who owned a small power boat was going as fast as he could to get back to his house.

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Thanks for the advice. The house is already built, but the yard goes back to a creek (not quite a river, unless it is raining like crazy :rolleyes:)

It has been there for almost 5 years and I was just wondering how much back yard I had to use for any add-ons...

 

thanks again

 

Qué tal CentroJoe ?

 

As many friends have commented here, if you are planning to do something else in your backyard, it is a good idea to ask your architect/engineer about the restrictions there. Depending on location, some laws don´t allow to build anything if there are woods around.

 

In any case, about your specific question, you should know there is a protection area for the rivers, so you are not allowed to build into 10 meters (33 feet) from the riverside. Then, for more than 300 square meters (3,230 square feet) construction you need not only the professional design, signed by the engineer, but an approval from SETENA (Secretaría Técnica Ambiental) that is the bureau in charge of the environment´s protection.

 

Then, you can download several documents about laws related to this matter from the CFIA (architectual bureau) website: www.cfia.or.cr. The only thing is those documents are written in Spanish. I recommend you to review Ley de Construcciones and Reglamento de Construcciones where you will find the specifications about many details for building houses, premises and other different kinds of structures. If you have any problem finding them, seek them in google or just let me know to send you a copy by email.

Edited by Rodrigo

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I'm a whitewater kayaker and I've seen some big rises in streamflow due to rain, especially in climates with extremes in rainfall like the desert and the tropics.

 

You may want to look at some topo maps to figure out how big the watershed is for your drainage. If the watershed is small then you could be good to go, especially with a nice porous volcanic geology. A large drainage in an area that occasionally gets torrential downpours is cause for concern. Hopefully, your spot is safe.

 

I first saw the following pics on my local kayaker forum. They are from Mag-Aso Falls on Bohol in the Phillipines. They show a trickling jungle creek turning into a raging river in a matter of seconds. I guess it rained hard in the mountains that day. I've seen it on video too. It killed 2 people who were playing in the water before the flood. I think about it when I am hiking "to the waterfall" in various locations around CR. You can probably find video online if you google enough. Here is a link to a sequence of photos: http://bigsingapore....-2-silently.php

 

 

post-11671-044336500 1288109347_thumb.jpg

 

post-11671-015496200 1288109362_thumb.jpg

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I'm a whitewater kayaker and I've seen some big rises in streamflow due to rain, especially in climates with extremes in rainfall like the desert and the tropics.

 

You may want to look at some topo maps to figure out how big the watershed is for your drainage. If the watershed is small then you could be good to go, especially with a nice porous volcanic geology. A large drainage in an area that occasionally gets torrential downpours is cause for concern. Hopefully, your spot is safe.

 

I first saw the following pics on my local kayaker forum. They are from Mag-Aso Falls on Bohol in the Phillipines. They show a trickling jungle creek turning into a raging river in a matter of seconds. I guess it rained hard in the mountains that day. I've seen it on video too. It killed 2 people who were playing in the water before the flood. I think about it when I am hiking "to the waterfall" in various locations around CR. You can probably find video online if you google enough. Here is a link to a sequence of photos: http://bigsingapore....-2-silently.php

 

 

post-11671-044336500 1288109347_thumb.jpg

 

post-11671-015496200 1288109362_thumb.jpg

 

Turnando is right. As I commented in previous posts, too, you must check the surroundings of the land you are planning to buy, in order to detect any kind of risk. If you have already bought it, like in Joe´s case, it is important to know the common risks in the area.

 

Besides the legal distance you have to respect from the creek or the river, consider the level from the water to your house or installations, because during floods the water could inundate different places, causing not only damages but being a danger for lives.

 

Sometimes, as Turnando has explained, some fallen trees and bushes create a natural barrier or dam and it breaks due to the heavy rains. We call it "cabeza de agua" (literally "water´s head")in Costa Rica. If there are people close to the creek the following day to a heavy rain, it is a good idea to keep away from that location. It is specially important if you are close to the river and there is a lot of noise that comes from some place in the mountain.

 

In any case, be sure to evaluate the risks and to be ready for reacting on time.

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