Water Management in Cuba: Problems, Perspectives, Challenges and the Role of the Cuban Academy of Sciences

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1 Water Management in Cuba: Problems, Perspectives, Challenges and the Role of the Cuban Academy of Sciences Daniela M. Arellano Acosta Environment Agency/ Water Commission, Academy of Science, CUBA

2 Water Management in Cuba: Strategy implemented from the beginning of 60 years, based in the Execution of the General Scheme of Management of Hydraulic and Agricultural Resources (1970) At the level of this scheme: Potential Hydraulic Resources : 38, 1 km3 (6, 4 km3 correspond to groundwater and 31, 7 km3 correspond to surface waters) Exploitable Hydraulic Resources: 24 km3 (75% of groundwater and 25% surface waters). Constructive program of hydraulic infrastructure Reservoir Capacity : From 48 hm3 stored in 13 small dams (at the end of the 50 years) to more of hm3 in 241 dams (2006). Delivery Capacity : x 106 m3 /year 730 small dams. Yearly Delivery Capacity: 500 hm3 Source: NIHR, 2006

3 Water Supply and Sanitation Service Water Supply Drinking Water needs Population covered: 94% House connections: 75% Easy access: 14, 4% Public service : 6, 8% Sanitation service Population covered: 93,7% Sewerage: 38, 2% Septic tanks and Latrines: 55, 5% 577,3 million m 3 of domestic residuals are evacuated: 32,5% are treated in 10 wastewater treatment plants, and 564 in oxidation ponds. Source: NIHR, 2006

4 Irrigation of crops: 60% Uses of the hydraulic resources Supply to the population, industries and local services: 20% Industry: 5% Other users: 15% Source: NIHR, 2006

5 Water service is guaranteed by the following infrastructure: aqueduct sites pumping stations linked to sources of water supply , 2 km of pipeline in distribution systems 2, 6 million of house connections 55 plants of drinkable water 5 desalination plants chlorinating plants Source: NIHR, 2006

6 Monitoring Networks and Pollution Sources Cuba has a wide qualitative and quantitative monitoring network of surface water and groundwater (2( rain gauge stations, 46 hydrometric gauge sites, observation wells for monitoring groundwater regime, monitoring and control of water stations (832 surface water and groundwater), supported on 17 provincial laboratories, 57 laboratories in drinkable water plants and 8 laboratories in water waste treating plants Main pollution sources inventoried: Industrial origin 560 Agricultural and Livestock 608 From municipalities 560 Source: NIHR, 2006

7 Management of Basins Cuba has 632 Hydrographic Basins 165 Hydro geologic Units Consideration: The Basin is the Basic Unit National Council of Hydrographical Basins President: National Institute of Hydraulic Resources Vice President: CITMA NCHB attends the problems (contamination, water uses, decision about new environment investments, criteria of the communities) in 8 basins prioritized in the country. NCHB has an annual meeting conducted by a Vice President of the Central Government With the same scheme and functions, are the Provincial (14) and Municipal (169) Councils of Basins

8 Problems At present, the problems with highest impact on society and economy, faced by the hydraulic resource sector in Cuba are: 1. lack of credit facilities from international financial agencies 2. obsolescence of water distribution systems in the urban zones 3. irregular spatial and temporal rain distribution, with long drought periods, mainly at the eastern region of the country.

9 1. Credit facilities from international financial agencies Cuba has not access to credits from international or regional financial agencies to invest in social infrastructure and all the investments have to be supported by the State budget. This situation has led to the establishment of priorities: water supply for the population; change of equipment in drinkable plants; limited investment in sewerage systems, waste water treatment and rehabilitation of oldest water distribution systems.

10 2. Obsolescence of water distribution systems in urban zones The biggest impact is originated by the fast demographic growth At present, Havana City has about 2 million of inhabitants 19% of the population ( inhabitants, approximately), in Havana City is supplied by an aqueduct constructed in 1893, foreseen for 200,000 inhabitants. The remaining 81% is supplied by 8 sources. The most recent was constructed in 1970

11 3.Irregular rain spatial and temporal distribution at the Cuban Archipelago: Rain associated to Cold Fronts affect western and central zones of the country Many hurricanes cross the country through these two regions, bringing great volumes of precipitations The longest drought periods are taking place in the eastern region, affecting the availability of hydraulic resources

12 Perspectives The problems existing in the use and rational management of the hydraulic resources in Cuba can be divided in two categories: Category 1: Problems that nowadays are identified, but are not totally solved (mentioned above) Category 2: Problems that have not been attended, but because of their direct incidence in the efficiency of management and quality protection of the hydraulic resources, must be faced The solution of these problems are considered within the perspectives for rational and sustainable management of the hydraulic resources in Cuba.

13 Perspectives Category 2: (Problems that have not been attended ) Evaluations of water-soil soil-crop relationships for optimizing of the water used in irrigations of agricultural crops Combination of models of general atmosphere circulation with hydrological models, by using the existing real time transmission system for rain information, flood level forecast and time lag. Evaluation of the impact of water damming and diking on the ecosystems, due to significant alterations in the behavior of climatic variables (evaporation), associated to the elevation of the surface of water in the reservoirs, as well as the reduction of nutrient flow towards the coastal ecosystems, altering their health condition

14 Perspectives (continuation) Systematization of studies on reservoir eutrophication. A certain amount of reservoir waters contain significant nutrient loads. These nutrients increase the algae and micro algae production, which in excess have caused mortality of commercial fish, together with water quality deterioration Design of compact treatment plants for industrial waste waters. The design of these plants should be functional, adequate to the specific problems to solve, and perform maximal efficiency in its functioning, and reducing the operation costs

15 Challenge: (for the scientific community) A relevant challenge is to contribute to the solution of the problems that face the hydraulic resource sector in Cuba, by gathering the best experiences and technical capacities to raise the efficiency in the management and quality protection of terrestrial waters

16 Particularly in : Challenges The elevation of integral (joint( operation of surface and groundwater sources) management and operation of the hydraulic resources during drought periods The identification of alternatives to solve the water supply for different uses, in the eastern zone of Cuba, where there is an ongoing desertification process Water saving by means of elimination of leakages in distribution systems

17 Role of the Cuban Academy of Sciences The Cuban Academy of Sciences is an official institution belonging to the Cuban State, that is independent and serves for scientific consulting. The Cuban Academy of Sciences includes among their main goals: Contribute to the Cuban science development and to the dissemination of global and national scientific advances Enhance successful research in the country Strengthen the links among scientists of the country, with the society and with scientists from the entire world The Cuban Academy of Sciences has 10 Technical Commissions in charge of implementing these objectives

18 Water Commission : Participants belonging to: National Institutions (scientific and sect oral) Individual Experts (proposed by the Commission) Scientific Societies NGOs Water Commission calls to the scientists of the country to support the solution of problems to elaborate recommendations to the relevant authorities Present Objective of Water Commission Elaborate the Scientific and Technical Program Sustainable Management and Quality Protection of Hydraulic Resources, in agreement with the organizational framework of science in Cuba This Scientific Technical Program will include the projects that have to be carried out to solve: Non attended problems and Challenges to be faced by the hydraulic sector in Cuba

19 Cuban Academy of Sciences within the framework of IANAS. Vision Questions 1. What Cuban Academy of Sciences is expecting from IANAS? 2. How Cuban Academy of Sciences can contribute to the goals of IANAS?

20 Answers IANAS should: promote the creation of a Water Network, able to group scientists, universities and institutions linked to water problems in the Americas, and scientific exchange among their members. organize the elaboration and diffusion of technical guidelines related to water and environment, addressed to raise awareness of the water managers from local level promote capacity training by using infrastructure existing in our countries, to satisfy our own needs

21 Answers Cuban Academy of Sciences must disseminate the IANAS scope and objectives among the scientific community of Cuba, linked to the hydric resources issues strengthen inside the country, the partnership with professional organizations (Hydraulic Engineering, Sanitary Engineering) and NGOs interested on terrestrial water issues, in order to reach their support for the IANAS goals.

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