The Chocolate-Colored Drinking Water in Cienfuegos, Cuba

This is what Cienfuegos’ drinking water looks like these days. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 September 2020 — A brown-colored liquid with a strong earthy flavor passes as drinking water in Cienfuegos these days. Catalina Pérez has been sick to her stomach for a week and believes that her problem originated from drinking the tap water.

“I called the Party, the Government, Public Health, but no one gives an answer or says how this can be solved,” she says in a brief telephone interview with this newspaper.

“The water looks like chocolate. It’s been like this for weeks,” she said. “The worst thing is that we ran out of the clean water that we had left in the house and even if you boil that water, it doesn’t come out clean. I don’t even know how to filter it.”

The problem of Pérez, a 41-year-old mother from the Pueblo Griffo neighborhood, is shared by hundreds of thousands of other inhabitants who, when the rains arrive, fear for the quality of their drinking water.

José Carlos Almanza, another resident, complains about the intermittent service of the aqueduct company: “It is not only that it is bad, it is that sometimes the water doesn’t come or there are days when so little arrives that a little thread comes out of the tap to fill the tanks. ”

Problems with the supply and quality of water come from afar in Cienfuegos, and the local government has recognized that problems with water are one of the main complaints from citizens.

Félix Duartes Ortega, provincial head of the Communist Party, declared to the official press that “a work system has been structured” to solve the problems with water, while noting that the country is in a precarious situation.

Yosvany Rubí, delegate of Hydraulic Resources in the province, said that although water distribution has improved, quality problems persist. “We carried out a work aimed at the water treatment plants, the one in Paso Bonito, and another in Abreus. In these plants with several years of deterioration we directed our efforts to their production process, so that they would work well,” he explained. “We use local materials as an alternative since the filter materials are imported and very expensive.”


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