Cubans Threaten To Protest if the Authorities Don’t Restore Water Service

Workers from Aguas de La Habana repairing a leak in the municipality of Cotorro. (Facebook/Aguas de La Habana)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 November 2023 — The state company Aguas de La Habana reported this weekend that several municipalities in the capital will not have drinking water for 12 hours, starting at 6:00 am next Tuesday due to “maintenance work.” The announcement did not take long to provoke a barrage of negative comments from those who have gone, they say, up to a week without the service.

“In several areas of the municipality of Cotorro, especially in the center, water arrives with very little force,” Tomás, a retiree who lives in that area, explains to 14ymedio. “The problem has existed for several days, and it is not even one of the municipalities that will be affected” during this Tuesday’s repairs, he says.

Also, he says, in the Paraíso neighborhood of the same municipality there are “supply problems. In other [neighborhoods] there is not as much instability with water, as in San Pedro, where I live, but it is an exceptional case. All of Havana has a serious problem with the water supply,” he adds.

People are very upset, because they call to find out what’s going on and are told that everything will be resolved soon

“People are very upset, because they call to find out what’s going on and are told that everything will be resolved soon, or they just don’t answer the phone,” he says.

Tomás’ words are the same as those that have been repeated by customers for months, in the publications of Aguas de La Habana. “It is disrespectful to publish that from Tuesday the 28th there will be no water in Central Havana, when it has been six days since the Popular Council of the Sites (…) had water. This happens because the water is not pumped and reaches the homes by gravity and in our case it doesn’t, because [we are on] the center of the slope with a little more height,” complained a Reina Street resident in the comments of the official media Tribuna de La Habana, which reproduced the announcement.

The netizen also complained that they no longer know who to turn to, because the telephone help lines for the population don’t ’pick up’. “Now, as if that were not enough, the news is that from Tuesday there will be no water, as if these past days everything worked well. We are desperate and helpless,” she said, adding that the provincial authorities promised to send them a water truck, which would solve the problem. “The truck never arrived; it was just words,” she said.

The avalanche of comments that appear in the publication of Aguas de La Habana suggests the cartography of the city’s problems: water scarcity in Bahia, impacts on the Guiteras distribution, leaks in San Miguel del Padrón, and the list continues.

“Do you think someone deserves to go a week without water? They don’t even send a water truck so we can at least cook and bathe, as any human being deserves,” protested another user.

“Today it’s been 15 days since we had water on my block, in the Wajay neighborhood, and complaints have been made. The delegate and the president of the council do not respond or carry out any action; even the bosses of Aguas de la Habana are aware and don’t deign to do anything if there is no signed document. I hope there is no need to have a march with pots and pans [a cacerolazo*], which is what will get their attention with immediate effect and without a signed document,” said another user.

On most occasions, the areas mentioned by customers are not among those where Aguas de La Habana has anticipated interruptions to occur

On most occasions, the areas mentioned by customers are not among those where Aguas de La Habana has anticipated interruptions to occur. The official list includes, for this Tuesday alone, impacts in part of the municipalities of Plaza de la Revolución and Boyeros, absence of service in El Cerro, Centro Habana and Habana Vieja, and minor interruptions in Diez de Octubre,  Luyanó and El Sevillano.

These areas are supplied by the Cuenca Sur reservoir, where  maintenance work will be carried out on the water conductors and the electrical system, the entity reported.

In contrast, other customers report that in their neighborhoods there are water leaks that have been draining for months without being repaired. “If you go from Boyeros to Ayestarán through the area of Bohemia magazine, you will have to roll up your pants because there is a lake of clean water,” says a nearby resident.

Some flooded, others in drought. The habaneros still can’t live in peace with the network of pipes that, instead of headaches, should bring them comfort.

*Translator’s note: A cacerolazo [from the word ’cacerola’ — casserole in English], is a form of protest where people bang on pots and pans.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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