Why Cuba is Ready For An Infrastructure Revolution

View from our rooftop in Havana
  1. Infrastructure development — All water resources, water and sanitation infrastructure, and hydropower facilities are owned and operated by the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidráulicos. The construction of reservoirs has expanded significantly since the beginning of the revolution. 13 urban centers had service in 1959 and today there are 2,416, with more than 22,000 miles of supply lines and more than 2,000 water treatment facilities under the jurisdiction of 19 regional water and sanitation companies. However, proper operations & maintenance has been a challenge due to low revenue and difficulty getting adequate government subsidies. Over 80% of the infrastructure is over 40 years old. Non-revenue water is high (> 55%). Cuba has lost its position as a leader in Latin American water and sanitation. Interestingly, Havana has one semi-privatized water provider, Aguas de la Habana, which is co-venture of Aguas de Barcelona (Agbar) and the government of Cuba. Aguas de la Habana began a 25-year concession in 2000. This is an attempt to rebuild.
Water meter box
Water tank where you can fill your gallon jugs if you don’t have a home water connection
Information boards about the wastewater screens along the waterfront walkway

The Future

I hope that the re-engagement between the governments of our two countries will help reintegrate Cuba into global economic systems and open opportunities for Cubans and those wanting to work in Cuba. The world awaits Donald Trump’s and Raúl Castro’s next moves. One of my long-time dreams is to be able to help Cuba rebuild its water and wastewater infrastructure. Oh the work to be done by enterprising engineers. Sign me up for this infrastructure revolution!

¡Hola amigos!

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Eleanor Allen

Eleanor Allen

CEO of @WaterForPeople. Passionate about making the world a better place. It all starts with water! @EleanorH2O TEDx: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--uWCAOehO