14ymedio, Havana, November 24, 2023 — A week after the authorities promised that the water supply would stabilize in Las Tunas, thousands of residents in the province remain without service this Friday. The installation of a pump – to whose absence the authorities had attributed the shortage – did not improve the situation, and citizens, who no longer trust the promises of local leaders, have filled their social networks with a flood of complaints.
Of a population of more than 500,000 inhabitants, 393,638 people receive water regularly in Las Tunas. Another 100,000, residents of 487 communities, obtain it through tanker trucks, and 6,267 through train delivery. These figures reflect only the residents who have a piping system, and not the hundreds of tuneros who are supplied from their own wells or directly from bodies of water that are not always suitable for consumption.
We spent weeks carrying water from a well; thank God it’s there, but the neighborhood has itchy skin
“We spent weeks carrying water from a well; thank God it’s there, but the neighborhood has itchy skin. Not to mention where you have to look for drinking and cooking water,” complained a neighbor this Thursday on the Facebook profile of the provincial Aqueducto company.
Those affected say the situation has become unbearable, and so they have let those responsible know. When Acueducto recently announced the installation of the new pump in El Rincón, which would supposedly improve the situation, customers responded sarcastically: “Improve? We’ll see if at least water arrives, because it’s been failing for months. Hopefully they put it on Saturday mornings, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we won’t have to wait for it. And I’m not going to mention the quality.”
Another client complained about the reliability of the company. “On Monday there was water on Buena Vista Street and if you got it, you had to pay 3,000 pesos. Of course, although I don’t have service, I still have to pay for it. This only happens in Cuba,” he said.
After being repaired in Havana, one of the motors in the water treatment plant was installed, and this allowed an increase in the pumping from 70 to 85 gallons per second. Also in the El Rincón reservoir, which supplies water to 160,000 inhabitants of Las Tunas, a new pump relieved the old one in October, after it exceeded its capacity of 20 million cubic meters.
The new machinery can expand the flow up to 132 gallons per second, but the low processing capacity of the water treatment plant prevents it. “The necessary 132 will not be reached, because everything is decided in the water treatment plant, and there it is not possible to increase power at this minute,” Oscar Carralero Suárez, director of Aqueducto in Las Tunas, told Granma this Friday.
The authorities’ reports to the official press reveal that even if the water pumps are repaired, Aqueducto’s capacity is insufficient
The authorities’ reports to the official press reveal that even if the water pumps are repaired, Aqueducto’s capacity is insufficient to provide service to all those affected. Exceeding 75% of the water levels of the reservoirs in the province, only Cayojo has operated regularly throughout the year; but being the smallest, its pumping capacity is just 19 gallons per second.
El Rincón, on the other hand, although it can reach 132 gallons per second, this year has seen its power reduced to 50%, and “in the case of Piedra Hueca, which had been working reliably with 45 gallons per second, today does not exceed 26, due to problems with the pumping equipment,” said Aqueducto’s director.
The only option for Las Tunas, the authorities recognize, is to “modify existing equipment,” including pumps, water treatment plants and water pipes, something that is being evaluated by a National Commission but, for the moment, is only an expectation.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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