Cuba: Police Will Go ‘House to House’ in Villa Clara to Find the Water Thieves

To carry out the theft, screws from the pipes were removed, and piping networks were connected that led to the fields of local farmers. (Vanguardia)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 March 2023 — The Villa Clara Police discovered 13 illegal connections and nine leaks in the Hanabanilla, a 15-mile system of pipes that supplies water to a large part of the central provinces of the Island. The farmers of the area had made multiple punctures in the pipes to divert the water to their agricultural fields.

The Hanabanilla, which takes its name from the reservoir that feeds it in the Villa Clara municipality of Manicaragua, extends from Jíbaro, in Sancti Spíritus, to Zapatero, in Villa Clara. The greatest damage occurred, according to the official newspaper, Vanguardia, between the towns of Porvenir and Biajaca, where the drainage left 10,000 people from the towns of Mataguá, La Yaya and Jorobada without a water supply.

To carry out the theft, screws from the pipes were removed and piping networks were connected that led to the fields of local farmers.

The authorities will apply sanctions to those involved and promised to carry out a “program for the suppression of leaks,” which are also common in the system. The official press also says that these water thefts also occur at the Paso Bonito-Barajagua pumping station, in Cienfuegos, but states that the Villa Clara Police “has no jurisdiction to act” there and that they have already informed the neighboring province to “take similar measures.”

According to the local newspaper Vanguardia, the authorities have been trying to contain the illegalities in the area for months. They assure that they have renewed the electrical panels that generate the pumping capacity in Hanabanilla, but that the illegal drainage decreases the pressure of the network and makes it impossible to supply the area.

The newspaper also points out the population density of the territory and says that, despite this circumstance, the police will go “house to house” to find the offenders. The newspaper says that an “official warning” would be a matter of interest to the inhabitants of Manicaragua and that, “in case of recidivism,” the fines and penalties will increase.

The loss of water in the area — in the midst of a drought that has affected, above all, the central part of the country — has been a blow to the cost of the tanker trucks that deliver water, for which large amounts of fuel are needed and often impossible to get, due to the “energy contingency.”

The illegalities, the price of getting water to mountainous and remote communities and the incompetence of Cuban hydraulic resources companies were not mentioned, however, in the speech given this Thursday at the United Nations Conference on Water by Cuban Vice President Inés María Chapman.

Chapman dedicated her speech to celebrating the Regime’s management and to complaining that due to the US blockade, the Island was not able to have better results.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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