The Albear aqueduct
- Submitted by: manso
- 03 / 04 / 2011
2011.03.03 - 09:34:31 / radiorebelde.icrt.cu / Havana, Cuba. - The centennial Albear Aqueduct is one of the seven marvels of Cuban Civil Engineering. Its origin dates back to 1858, when the City Council approved the project presented by engineer Francisco de Albear, who intended to pipe Vento springs water into Havana.
Until that moment the water supply solutions had not met the needs of an increasingly expanding city. The so-called Royal Ditch, completed in 1575 and regarded as the first aqueduct of Villa de San Cristobal de la Habana, and its 1827 successor, the Fernando VII Aqueduct, had both failed to supply the required quantity of water, with the necessary purity.
The construction of Albear Aqueduct started in 1858 and the works lasted until 1893. The reservoirs were inaugurated in that year, although the aqueduct was already operating before. Thereafter and until the present day, the Albear Aqueduct has delivered its waters solely by gravity and it just takes chlorine to clean the vital fluid.
This monumental construction of great technical thoroughness is made up by the collection works in Vento springs, the tunnel through Almendares River, the Vento Channel, the Palatino reservoirs and the distribution system.
The process begins when the water from around 400 springs in the Vento area spill into a large stonework bowl, known as the Vento Bowl. One of the sides of this collecting bowl serves as a contention wall to the waters of Almendares River when its level rises sharply.
Below the riverbed, there is a tunnel with two pipelines that connect the bowl to the channel that discharges into Palatino distribution reservoirs.
Over 20 cylindrical towers are used to gauge operations and check up the works and for air circulation in the conduit, through ventilation grills.
After flowing all the way, the water reaches Palatino reservoirs, built with the purpose of storing the water required for one day’s uninterrupted consumption. Each side spills into the drainage ditch and all those operations work by means of floodgates.
More than 100 years after its construction, the Albear Aqueduct still renders a valuable service to the population of Cuban capital city, by delivering almost 20 % of Havana water consumption.
By: Elsa Maria Cortes