14ymedio, Havana, January 10, 2024 — A leak in a water pipe in Sancti Spíritus that broke last Thursday leaves the residents of the municipality of Cabaiguán and the capital city without drinking water. The authorities of the province, who initially declared that the supply would be stabilized in two days, no longer know how to explain the delay in the repair to the neighbors, who have been without service for a week.
“Days ago they said that there was a break in the Macaguabo aqueduct, which feeds the northern part of the city, and that they were going to do work to repair it that would take up to two days,” Noelia, 37, tells 14ymedio.
“We were without water for a couple of days and suddenly it arrived, and we all assumed that the pipe had been repaired”
“We were without water for a couple of days and suddenly it arrived, and we all assumed that the pipe had been repaired. However, the water had little force, and many people couldn’t save much, as was my case, and when it turned off again we were left without reserves,” she said.
According to Noelia, as the days go by the situation becomes more desperate, and the small water storage tanks have begun to run out. “In my house things are tight. The tank was only half full when the water came, and now my children are tired of me telling them to save, that there is no water.”
But her situation, she admits, is not the worst: “I know people who are going to the factories to get water, who have their own reserve in wells, tanks or cisterns. Another friend of mine has been taking a bath at work these days because at home the water is for cooking and drinking.”
The patience of the residents is exhausted, she says, and the last update from the authorities declared that they still do not know “at what time the work can be finished, because the pipe is being welded and it will take a long time.”
A few days ago, interviewed by Radio Cabaiguán, Alexei Hidalgo Leiva, director of Aqueduct and Sewerage in the municipality, explained that “on January 4, pumping at the Manaquita reservoir was stopped to suppress two large leaks: one at the entrance of pump three and the other at the exit of the pumping station.” The one at the exit could be repaired, but the one at the pump, he said, could not be finished due to the bad condition of the pipe. “When we started the work on the leak, we discovered that the pipe is rotten. It could not be welded, and it caused that section of the pipe to deteriorate more.”
Since then, the situation only got worse, because the province did not have the pipes and other materials necessary to do the repairs
Since then, the situation only got worse, because the province did not have the pipes and other materials necessary to do the repairs. “We had to close the outlet valve of the dam, because if that pipe goes, it would end up flooding the pumping station, where there is 440 volt electricity, pumps, operators and personnel. It is an imminent danger for the workers there, so the leak has been going on for days,” added Hidalgo, who couldn’t give a tentative date for the completion of the work.
At the moment, he said, in an attempt to give relief to the population, “we have the fuel and two water trucks activated to cover hospitals and state centers, including schools and childcare centers.” However, the Macaguabo Water Plant provides water for 62% of the population in the province.
The umpteenth promise of repair was offered this Tuesday by the official press. “It is expected to finish around 9:30 or 10:00 tonight, Tuesday,” Escambray announced. The reality is different. This Wednesday Sancti Spíritus continues with its reservoir closed while the Aqueduct and Sewerage company says that its workers have spent the last 48 hours repairing the leak.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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