Alumnus helps Costa Rican area contend with aftermath of flood

A group of villages in Costa Rica hard hit by recent flooding received watershed management, drinking water and waste disposal guidance from an interdisciplinary United Nations-sponsored team that included Alberto Galindo ‘05, a former environmental design student at Texas A&M.

Galindo, an associate in the Dallas office of RTKL, a design and planning firm, provided planning and zoning recommendations for coastal and flood zones of Osa, a collection of villages in the southern part of the Central American nation.

Osa requested assistance from the United Nations Human Settlements Program to resolve issues associated with high sediment loads in local rivers, building levees to protect several villages from frequent flooding during storms, constructing a bridge connecting the southern and northern parts of the municipality, converting an open dump to an engineered landfill and recycling center as well as establishing a potable water supply in a small village on an isolated barrier island.

While Osa is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, it is rural, underdeveloped and has some of the highest poverty rates in Costa Rica, said Galindo, a member of the team that included engineers from RTKL’s parent company, ARCADIS. “In recent years," he continued, " the villages have been devastated by catastrophic flooding that is likely the result of poor watershed management practices.”

The team’s recommendations, presented to Osa officials during an April 2012 visit by Galindo and Bert Smolders, a fellow RTKL planner, emphasized the importance of Osa’s collaboration with neighboring cities, national ministries and private industry in resolving its municipal issues.

The team is planning a followup visit in late 2012.

posted October 12, 2012