Friday, May 29, 2015

About 60,000 Havanans Receive Water via Tanker Trucks

About 60,000 Havanans Receive Water via Tanker Trucks / Rosa Lopez, 14ymedio
Posted on May 29, 2015

14ymedio, Rosa Lopez, Havana, 25 May 2015 – A sound that is inseparable
from the streets of Habana Centro (Central Havana) is the screech of the
trucks filled with water, with their metal wheels on the asphalt. This
symphony of necessity has become more intense in recent months because
of the frequent cuts in supply that the city has undergone due to
repairs, breakages and a drought affecting the entire country. More than
58,760 people receive water through tanker trucks, as affirmed, this
Monday, in the Trabajadores (Workers) newspaper.

In Havana more than half of the water being pumped is lost in leaks, 20%
of which are located in the so-called household networks, inside homes
and buildings. For the engineer Antonio Castillo, Deputy Director of
Operations for the Havana Water company, the situation is unsustainable
in the medium and long term. "Supply basins are like bank accounts. If
you deposit, but take out more than you deposit, you have less and less,
and if you stop saving, one day you'll have no money. That happens with
the water," he declared to the official press.

In late February the situation began to worsen because of the disastrous
combination of leaks and electrical problems that caused large losses at
La Cuenca Sur reservoir. About 45,000 residents of Habana Vieja, Plaza
de la Revolución, Diez de Octubre, Centro Habana and Cerro
municipalities in Havana were severely affected.

In order to reduce leaks, sector specialists propose to continue with
network rehabilitation plans and impose a new fee on the charge for
service for the residential sector. Meanwhile, capital residents are
demanding shorter water delivery cycles and a higher quality of the
precious liquid. "The water is very hard and this damages the pipes and
bathroom iron fittings, that's why there are so many leaks," says Ruben,
a self-employed plumber in La Lisa municipality.

Others demand, as soon as possible, the enactment of a water law to
regulate the consumption of this important natural resource. "Although
in December the Council of Ministers approved a stricter policy, they
are still indiscriminately wasting something that should be treated as a
real treasure," expressed Yaquelin de la Osa, engineer and promoter of a
more focused policy on caring for the environment and natural resources.

Apart from the specialized opinions or those with in the environmental
field, the main demands come from a population sector that needs to
bring the water into their homes with wheelbarrows, buckets and bottles.
"I don't remember when was the last time that I could take a shower,
because for several months I have had to bathe with a pitcher," says
Xiomara, resident of a tenement room at Marqués González street in
Centro Habana.

Everyone agrees that repairs to the hydraulic networks are necessary,
but the slowness and lack of efficiency with which they are tackled
causes discomfort among many Havanans." This seems like a city after a
bombing," said an owner of rooms for rent for tourists located in
Amargura street in in Habana Vieja, who must deal with the holes and
trenches in the street every day to find customers. The municipality is
being subjected to a replacement of the water networks which will be
completed in 2017 and which has a budget of more than 64 million.

The water that should fall from heaven hasn't performed as expected in
this rainy period. Downpours that flooded parts of the city in late
April and early May failed to fill the cachement areas supplying the
city. Precipitation was not abundant in the southern provinces of
Artemisa and Mayabeque, which are the main sources of supply, nor in the
Almendares-Vento basin, which supplies 47% of the water which is
destined to Havanans.

As the situation worsens, Havanans wake up trying to detect clouds on
the horizon and fall asleep with the sound of the trucks on the pavement.

Translated by Alberto

Source: About 60,000 Havanans Receive Water via Tanker Trucks / Rosa
Lopez, 14ymedio | Translating Cuba -

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