Cuba: Only 5.7% of the Population Have Water 24/7

By Daniel Benitez  (Cafe Fuerte)

The water crisis is severely affecting Havana residents this summer. Photo: EFE

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.

Severe drought

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.

16 thoughts on “Cuba: Only 5.7% of the Population Have Water 24/7

  • Last statistics I find for Honduras puts it at 2% with 24 hr running water.

  • How does this statistic compare with other developing countries, particularly those neighbors around Latin America?

  • Boy Oh Boy, you folks really are fortunate in Camaguay. We get power cuts that can last up to seven hours. Most are only for two to three hours and on average we get one about every three weeks. Yes Terry, like you I always enjoy getting back home.
    Regarding packing, I usually fill two cases which fit one inside the other when returning. As previously mentioned, the most peculiar item so far, was taking a decent quality toilet seat, but usually the majority consists of household items and gifts for the children in the family.
    Like the idea of a swimming pool – lucky guy!

  • Carlyle, within all of my numerous visits and living there part-time in our casa, only once did we lose the power for a couple of hours late morning. No biggie. It really wasn’t the loss of the A/C that bothered us so much… it was the fact that we couldn’t listen to our music. To stay cool we can always slip into our swimming pool to refresh, as we often do during both the day and night.

    Thanks for your best wishes, Carlyle. As always, it’ll be good to be back home again. Busy packing now.

  • The Castro regime has only had fifty eight years so far Michael in which to repair and restore tat vital infrastructure. So as you suggested, they are only taking baby steps!

  • I omitted to wish you a happy time in Camaguay!

  • I don’t wish to disagree with you bjmack, but maybe Cuba represents the norm for socialism, it is possible that it could get worse!

  • I only hope that Cuban government will use the time given them by the Trump “reset” to repair and restore their vital infrastructure.
    Fact is, Obama and Castro jumped the gun on “Opening.” Cuba was, is, not ready for mass tourism.
    Stop griping and use this time wisely.
    As I’ve always pleaded, baby steps!

  • What do you do when there are power cuts Terry ? Who fans who – or do you take it in turns?

  • Yup Terry you folks have been fortunate. We have always had to pump water up to the tank on the roof of our casa. We top it up daily in case the supply is cut off – which we have experienced too frequently. But we put those white plastic buckets out on our patio and collect rain water as well. When getting desperate we send for the water truck.
    In Camaguay you also have those historic great clay pots! I have photographs of my esposa and I with them – happy memories!

  • Yes, they seem to get enough rain in Camagüey on a regular basis. If she’s not complaining about the insufferable heat, she’s often telling me that it’s raining again with the humidity at maximo. I’ll be back in our casa again very soon. Thank God for air conditioning.

  • you are lucky. I had to send the water truck. It’s been bad but I think Camaguey is one of the luckier spots in Cuba during this drought

  • I imagine that my esposa and I are within that lucky 5.7% in Cam city… we always have water flowing through the faucets in our casa. Regardless, this article is a bit ironic because we only just decided 2 weeks ago to put a tank up on the roof of our casa as a back-up.

  • It has been widely reported that more than 50% of the drinking water is lost to leakage prior to reaching homes.

  • Sad, but socialism at its worst!

  • Lots of water running down the streets from leaks in our community.

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