The Leaks From a New Pipe Are the Only Source of Water for the Population of Las Tunas

The authorities say that the pipe itself is not broken; it’s the connections that don’t contain the water. (Periódico 26)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 1 February 2024 — The families of Las Tunas “have continually sore arms from carrying so much water.” This was the statement on Wednesday in the local press for the umpteenth time about the water situation in the province, which has still not been resolved. On January 28, several leaks in the new water pipe – which came into operation only last October – caused the supply to stop arriving at the Piedra Hueca station.

The “ephemeral stability” of the service, according to Periódico 26, has broken down again along with the pipe, which was installed in 2021 and which the inhabitants hoped would be the definitive solution to the desperate water situation.

“A week after being in operation, we found six leaks, and they were all resolved in a short time,” Piedad Herrera, director of Aqueduct and Sewerage, told the newspaper, but she admitted that since then, leaks continue to appear from time to time without the state-owned company having the resources to repair them. “Since September 7 they have not given us fuel, and that, together with the fact that we did not want to stop the service to make adjustments, were issues that delayed the repair,” the director added.

Despite the fact that the maintenance work is now being carried out, the authorities predict that the service will remain disabled at least until the weekend. “The work is complicated because there is a lot of mud, but I think that this situation can be resolved by the weekend. We are doing everything possible for that, without rest,” said Herrera. She clarified that the brand new pipe is not broken; it’s the connections that seal it that fail to contain the water.

The neighbors of Molinet showed us, for example, how they went there in cars and on bicycles to load water from the leaks themselves, since there is no other possible option

Despite the insistence of the authorities that everything possible is being done to alleviate the situation, the media emphasized that the people in the province are having a hard time.

“We note, with great regret, how complex the situation has become in the vicinity of Piedra Hueca. The neighbors of Molinet showed us, for example, how they went there in cars and on bicycles to load water they would use at home — from the leaks themselves — with no other possible option,” the newspaper said.

The Piedra Hueca pumping station is not the most important in the province, says Periódico 26, but the cessation of its operation has an impact on the drinking water service, which has been reduced especially in the provincial capital, with the neighborhoods of the Airport, Sosa, Casa Piedra and Buena Vista being the most “vulnerable.”

The situation of the wells near Piedra Hueca is not ideal either. “Only one of those (five) wells has an assigned generator set,” and of the five electropumps that the station should have, only one works, despite the fact that last December Periódico 26 itself reported that they had been “mended” to keep them active.

The media itself puts its hope in the promise of the authorities to re-establish the flow for this weekend although, it regrets, “no one can guarantee us that the situation will not be repeated later, but they did tell us that they have high hopes that the solution, this time, will be lasting and even final.”

Six months after declaring that the situation was “somewhat critical,” the provincial authorities no longer find words to describe the drinking water deficit. For its part, the population, which in some cases spends weeks without receiving the service, no longer hesitates to launch criticism and complaints to officials on social networks. Meanwhile, managers are content with the fact that it is not “raining now,” something that would make the repair even more difficult than it already is.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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