About Cuba’s Water Shortages and Other Needs

Pedro P. Morejon

Access to water in many communities and neighborhoods of Pinar del Rio is quite a headache. Foto: cubitanow.com

HAVANA TIMES – I live in a town in the province of Pinar del Rio with just over 6,000 inhabitants, where shortages are proverbial. Its little markets or vegetable stands are rarely ever stocked. It’s one of those “lifeless” towns, as people say.

Luckily, it isn’t far off from a provincial capital and those who work in the city can get hold of and bring something back to compliment the meagre basic food products that the State ensures with its “rations” booklet, which as we well know is only enough for just over a week.

However, if this small town is good for anything, it’s its water supply. It has two or three wells which supplies itself, as well as other places. Water is supplied daily. Many locals here aren’t even concerned about having tanks or cisterns to store water. In my own house, we used to have a medium-sized tank to store water up until recently, and we hardly ever used it, then we built a huge fiber cement tank so we had enough for a week.

All of this contrasts with the situation of most people in the province and the rest of the country. In the city of Pinar del Rio, there are places where the water supply is every 3 days, and that’s when things are going well, other times, it comes every 7, 15 days, even 20 days.

In Alameda’s new developed area, never. People there have to pay for water tankers every now and then. A million-dollar investment was made by the Institute of Hydraulic Resources recently to increase the power of the supply from water sources located 13 km from the city, but internal networks are so run down after being overused for decades, that the situation is little improved. Every once in a while, there is a breakage, you find leaks everywhere and people’s complaints are non-stop.

As I said, none of this happens in my town, and if once every blue moon, the water pump gets damaged, the problem was solved in less than three days. Well, every dog has its day. The water pump blew, and it’s been five days already. No solution has been found yet.

People are desperate. They aren’t used to this misfortune. To put the icing on the cake, there aren’t many places where you can fill buckets. My tank still has some left, and we have shared this with other neighbors for drinking and cooking because you need to be solidary in these times.

Luck up until now had been a self-employed man who wasn’t from this town, who supplied everyone with his water tanker for 35 Cuban pesos*, to fill their deposits. Quite an affordable price if you bear in mind the fact that people are paying up to 300 Cuban pesos in the city of Pinar del Rio, even for state-owned tankers, taking advantage of other people’s needs and pain. The abovementioned individual has been responsive because later, when there is water left over, he allows neighbors to fill their buckets and bottles for free to alleviate the situation.

Ah, but I wrote that it had been our luck… because it isn’t anymore. It turns out that he didn’t have his license documents in order, he was given a 2000 Cuban peso fine and so now he can’t provide this service, all of this because some miserable person had the great idea to report him.

(*1 USD = 21 Cuban pesos and 0.87 CUC).

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Pedro Morejón

I am a man who fights for his goals, who assumes the consequences of his actions, who does not stop at obstacles. I could say that adversity has always been an inseparable companion, I have never had anything easy, but in some sense, it has benefited my character. I value what is in disuse, such as honesty, justice, honor. For a long time, I was tied to ideas and false paradigms that suffocated me, but little by little I managed to free myself and grow by myself. Today I am the one who dictates my morale, and I defend my freedom against wind and tide. I also build that freedom by writing, because being a writer defines me.

Pedro Morejón has 136 posts and counting. See all posts by Pedro Morejón

11 thoughts on “About Cuba’s Water Shortages and Other Needs

  • My question is how do we change this water crisis. how do you take from the rich and give to the poor?
    Vive Cuba

  • Well that is one potential reason Michael.
    But do they have postal workers and letters in North Korea?

  • Maybe the Cuban postal workers burn them for fuel, like the postal employees have to do in North Korea?

  • With regard to your comment Jeannie P about parcels (it also applies to letters) being sent to Cuba, I have often wondered where the Postal system in Cuba stores all those undelivered parcels and letters. Is the Correa akin to a giant squirrel storing nuts to enable it to survive the winter? Somewhere there must be a gigantic warehouse or bottomless pit dedicated to collection.
    In Cuba one has to become accustomed to inefficiency, incompetence, lousy service and non-availability of normal daily requirements, or go crazy. But as one who sends out Christmas cards to Cuban family and friends, I can say in support of the Correa that some 40% actually reach their destinations.
    Another factor is allowing time! My personal record is mailing a single photograph without a letter, on August 28 from a Canadian post office. That photograph was duly delivered in Cuba on December 31st – of the same year! But it had been opened and inspected and re-sealed by the Aduana. Obviously if it had contained money it would never have arrived.
    It was highly amusing when the Correa in January introduced greeting cards for St, Valentine’s Day – hoping to sell both the cards and stamps – but most Cubans were too wise to be succored.

  • This is what the Tourist Really Needs To Read & Understand The Honesty From The inside of Cuba. I Know many Canadians are Asking where is all the Money Going we Have Provided when we Travel & Visit Cuba. When There is More Bottled Rum & Beer Then There is Safe Drinking Water, As To Dollar,s Invested. I have Seen & Herd To Much, I was Permitted to go To Far into Cuba.

  • Sewer system? Ancient septic tanks! Virtually every part of the infrastructure in Cuba is crumbling, a true reflection of the 19th century policies pursued by the Castro communist regime – truly a time-warp!
    Time for communism (the “Socialismo” of Fidel Castro) to be incinerated, ground to dust and dumped into the garbage can of history.
    How proud Miguel Diaz-Canel must be to preside over the failures inherited from sixty years of Castroism!

  • Honest and an brave way to speak out serious issue ,such as water resources short supplies .
    Most of this water shortage has a root
    The deteriored water supply infrastructure and lack of manteinance for over 50 years .
    It’s all about time when start arise others issue to worsen the province scenario ,The sewer system .

  • My son, thank you for the honesty in your writing. I am receiving notifications for Havana Times and I click in every so often. Lo estimo por su valentia en este aspecto de darnos la verdad de Cuba…Espero que los dos gobiernos, EUA y Cuba testarudos que son, empiezen a realizar lo mas seguro…eso de que nada mas sufre la gente y ciudadania de los dos paises…Que Dios me lo bendiga hijo…

  • Godbless our suffering people….

  • I only wish… it would be reasonable cost to send parcels to Cuba and that I could trust it ever reaching the intended person. I only wish…it would be easy to forward money to designated person as I would pay 2000 Cuban pesos fine! It’s hard to read of the reality & hardships and have so little options to help those we wish to support somehow with a small gesture. I can only get a little satisfaction when I visit as I truly enjoy sharing and making a small difference in someone’s life. Even if it is short lived. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mi hermano I applaud you for writing about the truth in Cuba , the daily needs of every Cuban especially water which you can’t live with out ..All the Roboluccionario government does is steal the money for there expensive life styles and there families ..No more dictadura #Freedomfighters

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