La Habana suffering critical water scarcity

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Water supply in Cuban capital La Habana has reached the most critical level in half a century, according to state newspaper Granma.

The problem is due to a prolonged drought that has affected the capital for the last two years, deteriorating potable water systems, and a lack of water conservation culture, the paper said.

Of the 3,158km of distribution pipelines in the city, some 70% are in bad repair, causing water losses.

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The city has a deficit of 519,307m3 each day, according to national water resources institute (INRH) engineer Jorge Kalaf. Several reservoirs have already been exhausted and the Bacuranao reservoir only has enough water to last another 79 days, Kalaf told the paper.

More than 1mn people are being affected by the lack of potable water, and the situation could worsen if rains expected in May and June do not materialize.

The government has approved 14 projects to improve potable water systems during 2011, seven of which are under construction, Kalaf said.