Drought in Cuba leads to serious situation in Havana

Rains earlier this month amounted to 123 millimeters (4.8 inches), which represents only 87 percent of the historic precipitation for July, and did not have a positive impact on the recovery of local aquifers, while reserves are barely at 18 percent of their capacities, the Cuban News Agency reported.

As an example of this situation, representatives with the Water Resources Institute said that the water levels at sources that supply four major Havana municipalities -home to 800 000 citizens -are currently one meter (39.4 inches) below normal levels for this time of the year.

Josefina Rodriguez, a Havana resident, told the South Journal that in normal times she would get water at her tap every other day, which allowed her to accumulate enough water for two days. But with the current shortage water is now pumped every six days, which has made her increase water saving.

In some Havana municipalities, residents are receiving water from cistern trucks, which help relieve the harsh everyday situation.

At present, a series of rehabilitation works is underway in the city capital because, along with the drought, a large number of leaks in old pipes have also been the cause of the loss of a large amount of water pumped from the aqueducts to the residential areas. The project includes several areas of the city.

The media on the other hand has maintained an education campaign promoting the need to save water and not to waste it.

However, only an increase in rainfall over the next months could help a major recovery of the aquifers, said water resources specialist, Dr Mario Garcia, in statements to Granma newspaper.

Other western provinces undergoing critical water shortage are the recently created Mayabeque and Artemisa, both south of Havana, and Pinar de Rio.

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