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Baracoas Potable Water Project Advances
The valuable treasure is supported by underground water reserves and surrounded by several of Cuba’s mightiest rivers, including the Toa, Duaba and Miel.

However the first city founded in Cuba by the Spanish colonizers is, paradoxically, and for many years, a region with serious water supply problems.

Deterioration and the lack of potential of its three small aqueducts, plus the frequent rupture of pumping equipment, cause numerous failures of service.

According to estimates, more than 60% of the water pumped is lost just from leaks in conductors and distribution systems. To give it its "due recognition", the first project financed by the ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for The Americas) in eastern Guantánamo province began to be carried out in May: Baracoa’s gravity fed aqueduct.

The Hydrology Brigade of the No. 25 Construction Enterprise for Engineering Works (ECOING 25), from Villa Clara implements the investment of several million US dollars, without including the waterworks.

The work brigades are recognized in Guantánamo for their outstanding work in the recovery of mountain roads and for their current effort to resume construction of the Guantánamo-Santiago de Cuba freeway.

The project goal is to finish the water system within 18-22 months, enabling the population to receive permanent water service.

Baracoa’s aqueduct will be made up by a 12-kilometer conductor with its intake at the Duaba River, two distribution tanks, waterworks, and the internal systems now being restored.

Idel Ruiz, head of the Villa Clara group, told Granma that despite the delays in terms of the supply of pipes, stoppages for torrential rain, and the 19-day rupture of the thermofusion welding machine, they have already buried 3,000 meters of the conductor and will reach 5,000 by the end of the year.

Initially, the builders from Villa Clara worked in the repair of the road, where most of the conductor pipelines will pass, and also on the construction of the three sewers the work requires.

Experienced in the construction of causeways and of other important tasks in Cuba, Idel pointed out that the intake will be placed 1 kilometer below from the spot originally planned in the feasibility study.

By doing so, he explained, it won’t be necessary to move 90,000 cubic meters of rock, most of which, due to the complex topography, would fall in the river bank, with the subsequent damage to that torrent.

Ruiz said that, in view of the impossibility of vehicle transportation to access the intake work, the initial project had foreseen to reach this point by way of the manual opening of a long ditch, where iron tubes would be installed supported by concrete piles.

Our brigade proposed instead to open the challenging road of approximately one kilometer on a steep and dangerous hillside full of stones. Of the remaining 200 meters, only 50 are extremely difficult, due to the amount of rocks and the danger posed by the abyss.

The road will make it unnecessary to use the expensive and scarce iron tubes planned in the beginning. Instead, like in the rest of the conductor, high density polyethylene will be placed.

In order not to leave room for doubts with respect to the complexity of the work ahead from the road to the intake, Idel explained that the bulldozer driven by Reynaldo Manso was trapped for a week by a huge rock that slid down the left side of the equipment when he was clearing the road.

Manzo and Rolando Sardiñas (the backhoe driver), corroborated the words of their fellow worker, who called on them to add their skill and experience to the power of the equipment, in order to move the enormous rock that prevented them from moving ahead.

Parallel to the construction of the aqueduct, a brigade from Baracoa municipality, with modern equipment, is working on the restoration of the city’s hydraulic system.

Since the end of April, when the works began, 16.2 kilometers of pipelines have been placed, which has benefited 2,612 houses and some 10,000 citizens from the Joa and Mabujabo neighborhoods, as well as the city’s historical area, where restoration works are now underway.

According to engineer Geolvis Constanten, head of the group, the participation of local residents has been significant, especially in the excavation of ditches with picks, shovels and other means in narrow places where machines can’t operate.

The execution of the aqueduct provides the necessary dose of optimism in the solution of the drinking water problem, precisely in the place of the archipelago where water most abounds.


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