By Daniel Benitez (Cafe Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — Having running water 24 hours a day in Cuba is a luxury reserved for just 5.7% of the population in a country with over 11 million inhabitants.
Statistics disclosed by the National Institute of Water Resources show that 654,001 people in 2014 had water in their homes at any time of the day, which was less than in 2015 when 1,036,686 consumers enjoyed this benefit.
The statistics revealed that 3,126,469 have a daily water service, while 2,097,965 only had the chance to store water every three or more days.
According to an article recently published in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde, the drought has affected the service time compared to what it was in 2015.
The severe water drought in Cuba due to the lack of rain, has forced the country to look for help in foreign capital so they can invest in the water sector with donations coming in from countries all over the world, mainly the Middle East, and medium and long-term loans.
However, the water supply network is also in a critical state due to it being old, deteriorated and lacking maintenance work, which means that 44% of the water that flows through the supply network system is lost.
The situation has got worse this summer after the hydraulic conductor in Cuenca Sur broke, which has left over 852,000 people living in six of Havana’s municipalities without water for several days. This is the most serious outage in over 20 years.
Old Havana and Central Havana, the Cuban capital’s highest population dense municipalities, had their water supply completely cut off, which created a lot of general discontent among the population.
The need for investors
With regard to the fittings needed to prevent leaks in homes and workplaces, the outlook isn’t too promising either. It is estimated that about 8,200,000 sanitary fittings are needed to repair leaks, out of which over 6 million are desperately needed in people’s homes.
This has forced Havana to urgently seek out foreign investors. A project for a factory that will produce different kinds of taps and is valued to cost 15 million USD has been put on the cards for the Mariel Special Development Zone. Up until now, we still don’t know if there are investors potentially interested in forming a mixed company which would have the State company GESIME as their Cuban counterpart.
This factory needs to be up-to-date with the latest developments in producing all kinds of plumbing fittings.
Statistics from the Ministry of Domestric Trade show that 2 million units from this range of products were imported in 2015 to be sold in hard-currency stores.