HAVANA, Oct. 15th. The president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INRH), Antonio Rodríguez Rodríguez, stated this on national television just a few days ago:
“Water services to production and the population constitute priorities for the country even in the midst of the current energy contingency.” But the fact that he said it like that, categorically, does not give him more credibility in the eyes of Cuba.
No matter how much INRH officials talk about the investment program to change the energy matrix or the often postponed intention to replace the broken pumps, which are so many that they run over each other;
No matter how much they say in front of the cameras that the water supply crisis is a specific situation that must be resolved, thousands – not to state, also categorically, that millions – of Cubans do not have drinking water on a daily basis and with the required quality.
This circumstance has been worsening in recent years, when it has not been possible to replace the planned number of electric pumps, nor to import inputs necessary for the sustainability of the pumping equipment and electrical panel workshops.
And that is written like this, in black and white, in the reports; But in reality, it is the citizens who must pay for pipes on the left at the price imposed by the “pipers” or fill tanks as best they can or, simply, buy gallons of water because the water that arrives through the aqueduct does not meet the minimum standards. to be considered drinkable.
The official figures revealed by Antonio Rodríguez himself in the most recent session of parliament leave no room for doubt: more than 156,000 people lack adequate access to drinking water in Cuba due to the poor state of the hydraulic infrastructure and other associated problems. fundamentally, to the deep energy crisis that the country is experiencing.
Some 475,000 inhabitants are served through tank cars, whose supply cycle increased due to drought, broken pumping equipment, and crippling blackouts; Around 2 million people receive water every three days or more and there are 478 population settlements with more than 2,000 inhabitants that do not have – totally or partially – aqueduct networks.
According to the National Environmental Strategy, 800,000 Cubans carry water from a distance of 200 or 300 meters and around 3 million people get their supplies through other means and consume untreated water.
Anything can be explained to these very high and alarming numbers of affected people: that the island gives special priority to the programs until 2030 for the supply of drinking water, sanitation, storage and transfer; or that we must take extreme savings measures, especially for clients who have unmetered services, who spend hundreds of liters a day because the bill is only seven cents…;
You can explain anything to them, that they will not be satisfied until they manage to receive in their homes a service that is considered a human right in the world.
According to the INRH specialists themselves, 77 percent of all complaints reported about water supply and quality services have been right, which is why they insist that officials give “adequate responses with good communication strategies” because it is of no use.
Harakiris and mea culpa are worth it: a simple explanation does not make the water come out of the bathroom shower.