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Home World Cuba Prioritises Sustainable Water Management in the Face of Climate Challenges

Cuba Prioritises Sustainable Water Management in the Face of Climate Challenges

High-density polyethylene pipe is laid on a road in the Cuban capital, the place the Aguas de La Habana water firm is upgrading the water provide networks in the municipality of Centro Habana. CREDIT: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS
  • by Luis Brizuela (havana)
  • Inter Press Service

The “initiative to strengthen hydrological monitoring” in Cuba, signed in Havana on Feb. 11, goals to spice up capacities to measure, transmit, course of and analyse hydrological variables and systematically assess water availability at the nationwide stage.

According to water sector authorities, the modernisation and optimisation of hydrological statement networks will probably be a vital part of early warning methods for floods and droughts.

The initiative will probably be applied by the National Water Resources Institute (INRH), with the help of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funding from Russia.

It additionally plans to revamp the statement community for each groundwater and floor water high quality, defined INRH Director of Hydrology and Hydrogeology Argelio Fernandez.

The initiative is in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which calls on governments to make sure availability and sustainable administration of water, in addition to sanitation.

It additionally responds to nationwide insurance policies and priorities contained in “Tarea Vida”, the authorities plan in place since 2017 to handle local weather change.

Among its a number of strategic tips, the plan goals to make sure the availability and environment friendly use of water to deal with droughts, based mostly on the software of applied sciences to save lots of water and meet native demand.

It additionally urges the optimisation of hydraulic infrastructure and its upkeep, in addition to the introduction of actions to measure water effectivity and productiveness.

Pathways for water

The lengthy, slender form of the island of Cuba, the largest in the Cuban archipelago, means many rivers are brief and the water circulation is low and extremely depending on rainfall, extra ample in the May to October moist season and through the passage of tropical storms.

With common annual rainfall of 1,330 mm, the information present that rains are more and more scarce, notably in the japanese area the place the nation’s longest and largest rivers, the Cauto and Toa, respectively, are positioned.

From 2014 to 2017, the nation confronted the biggest drought in 115 years, affecting 70 p.c of the nationwide territory.

Studies predict that Cuba’s local weather will have a tendency towards much less rainfall, larger temperatures and extra intense droughts, and that by 2100 water availability could possibly be diminished by greater than 35 p.c.

Another consequence of local weather change is that sea ranges are projected to rise, a phenomenon that can irritate saltwater intrusion, to which 574 human settlements and 263 water provide sources are presently weak, in response to official figures.

Law No. 124 of the Land Water Law has been guiding the built-in and sustainable administration of water since 2017, whereas the new structure in pressure since April 2019 protects the proper of Cubans to consuming water and sanitation, with due remuneration and rational use.

Since 1959, the authorities has promoted an formidable engineering programme for synthetic water reservoirs, to ensure the water provide for a inhabitants that just about doubled to 11.2 million inhabitants since then, and to advertise plans for industrial improvement and agricultural irrigation.

The knowledge reveals that from simply over a dozen small reservoirs six many years in the past, there at the moment are greater than 240 in the 15 provinces and the particular municipality of Isla de la Juventud – the second largest island in the archipelago – with a storage capability of greater than 9 billion cubic metres.

According to the 2020 Statistical Yearbook, greater than 95 p.c of the Cuban inhabitants has entry to consuming water, however solely 86.5 p.c of the city inhabitants and 42.2 p.c of the rural inhabitants receives piped water at dwelling.

Despite the financial disaster the nation has suffered for 3 many years and the influence of the U.S. embargo since 1962, in current years tens of millions of {dollars} have been invested to mitigate the water deficit and enhance water high quality.

Among the engineering works, the water switch aqueducts stand out, with greater than a dozen all through the nation, thought-about strategic pillars in constructing resilience to the results of local weather change.

These interconnected methods of dams, canals, aqueducts, tunnels and bridges switch water a whole bunch of kilometres from locations the place it’s ample to agricultural and industrial areas and human settlements.

They additionally make it attainable to manage floods, reduce the influence of drought and permit the siting of hydroelectric energy crops.

Cuba has three crops that produce high-density polyethylene pipes 1,200 mm in diameter for laying new aqueducts and to exchange the getting older and leaking hydraulic infrastructure that in some cities is over 100 years previous.

It additionally seeks to prioritise the manufacture of fittings and elements for home water provide networks, the place nearly 1 / 4 of the piped water is misplaced.

Of the whole funding in the water system, which in current years has averaged greater than 400 million pesos (16.5 million {dollars}) a yr, greater than half comes from the authorities price range for building and meeting.

The relaxation comes from worldwide cooperation by means of initiatives and funds from nations similar to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Japan, Spain, France and the OPEC Fund for International Development.

Thanks to those investments, in the 2018-2020 interval, desalination crops have been inaugurated in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Santiago de Cuba, Granma, Guantánamo and the municipality of Isla de la Juventud, in order to create quick access factors in populations affected by excessive ranges of salinity in their water provide sources.

Meanwhile, in Camagüey, the third most populated metropolis in Cuba positioned 538 km east of the capital, a water therapy plant with a capability to course of 1,800 litres of water per second is nearing completion, which is able to make it the largest in the nation.

Although the water that reaches most properties is handled and chlorinated, folks stay involved about the presence of microorganisms or salt that require boiling.

“It would be useful if shops sold water filters more frequently and at affordable prices, because they help protect our health,” a Havana resident, Yolanda Soler, informed IPS.

However, constructing resilience additionally entails encouraging a water tradition in the enterprise and personal sectors and amongst residents as an entire, hydroeconomics engineer Luis Bruzón, who lives in the western province of Mayabeque, informed IPS in a phone interview.

“Do we know how much water is used to produce a ton of a given agricultural or industrial product or to provide a specific service?” requested Bruzón, who believes that having such knowledge would enhance decision-making in a nation that should more and more optimise and save water.

© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal supply: Inter Press Service

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