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Water dealing
The Cuban strategy for dealing with water shortages is very sensible and its greatest challenge is to use it with more efficiency, said Francisco Arias Milla, representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Cuba.

Sixty percent of the countrys water resources are earmarked for farm irrigation, which implies that the irrigation techniques use only the necessary water and energy, added Arias in the celebration for World Water Day.

Arias noted that climatic change will reduce the availability of drinking water on the planet by 20 percent, due to extreme droughts in some areas and heavy rains in others.

Cubas role in the international debate to establish access to water as a right was highlighted by UNDP Resident Representative in Cuba Dr. Susan MacDade, when she presented the 2006 Human Development Report. McDade said that the main issue in this years document will be growing challenges posed by climatic change.

Aymee Aguirre, vice-president of Cubas National Hydraulic Resources Institute, explained that amid the current panorama with limited water resources, 96 percent of the Cuban population has access to drinking water.

Aguirre noted that 90 percent of water should be pumped to its destination and that for this reason the greatest prioritized investment is for the rehabilitation of pumping stations to save energy. Renovating the water pipe networks in the provincial capitals is also a high on the agenda in order to eliminate leakage.

The program to address water needs in rural communities of more than 200 inhabitants has benefited some 2 million people, said Aguirre.

Osvaldo Martinez, director of the World Economy Research Center, pointed out that Latin America possesses 31 percent of the planets water resources and 8.5 percent of the worlds population. He said that this favorable ratio should be defended against attempts to privatize water resources by transnational corporations.

Martinez stressed that while the global expenditure for weapons exceeds $500 billion US a year, each day 3,800 children die for a lack of clean water and millions of women dedicate up to four hours a day to search for the precious liquid, especially in Africa, the continent with the greatest water crisis.

Source: By Raisa Pages, Granma

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