Parts of the Cuban capital have been cut off from the municipal water supply for several days and have to be supplied by tanker trucks. Until recently, 200,000 inhabitants were affected, especially in the west and the old town of Havana, but this number has since dropped to 77,000. As the city’s water utility explained, massive pumping system failures were the cause, contradicting an earlier report in the local newspaper Tribuna that cited low levels in the water reservoirs as the main cause.
The city is working at full speed to repair the damage, local authorities stated. As a first step, the water utility Aguas de la Habana has been able to restart 140 defective pumps on a makeshift basis, but there is a shortage of materials. “We don’t have enough spare parts to repair them, in many cases the restored pumps are running at low efficiency,” Aguas de la Habana Vice Director Rosaura Socarrás told the party newspaper Granma. Normally, about 10 percent of the pumps are replaced each year, but since 2019 this has not been possible due to the country’s difficult foreign exchange situation, Socorrás said.
In addition, there was damage caused by a severe thunderstorm, as a result of which several reservoirs in the west of the capital were affected. The most severe bottlenecks occur in the municipalities of Centro, Vieja, Cerro, Diez de Octubre, Playa, Marianao and La Lisa. Residents currently have to fill their cisterns at their own expense with water trucks, but the service does not always work satisfactorily. In the municipalities of Cerro and Diez de Octubre, water is currently available every third day, and similar measures are in place in Old Havana, Playa and Marianao. There are also less severe impairments in the eastern districts of Alamar, Villa Panamericana and the Camilo Cienfuegos neighborhood.
Until the damage is completely repaired, efforts are being made to distribute the available water pressure in the affected areas as evenly as possible on a rotational basis.
This article was first published on Cuba Heute, a German-language news portal.