Major Rivers in Cuba

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Rio Cauto Cuba - longest river

Rio Cauto Cuba

Rio Cauto is the longest river with a lenght of 370 km. The Cauto river takes its rise in the Sierra Maestra in the Santiago province and flows to the Gulf of Guacanayabo. Its tributaries are the Rio Salado, Rio Bayamo and the Rio Contramaestre.

Rio Almendares is 45 km long and ends in the Straits of Florida, the river acts as the (drinking) water supply for Havana. The river flows through Havana city and separates the Miramar district from the rest of Havana, two tunnels and a bridge connect both areas. Near the suburb of Kohly the river crosses the Parque Almendares, the largest green space in Havana with an abundance of tropical plants, the park is becoming an ideal place for recreation in Havana.

Rio Yurimi
Matanzas city is wedged between two rivers Rio Yurimi and Rio San Juan. Twenty kilometres from Matanzas city near the border of the Matanzas and Havana province you find the tallest bridge in Cuba, 110 metres high over the Yurimi river. On the main road to Havana is a viewpoint called Mirador de Bacunayagua. The Rio Caminar enters the Bay of Matanzas four kilometres from the city center.

Drinking Water

Havana city faces a serious drinking water shortage, caused by droughts and low rainfall. The governmental publication Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) of August 2010 mentions that the rainfall in Cuba in July 2010 was only 39mm compared to a historical average of 134mm. 

This makes it difficult to build a buffer, and has a negative impact on the argriculture too.

The second problem is the bad condition of the entire distribution system. 

In the capital Havana, with close to 2.5 million inhabitants the drinking water infrastructure is in an incredibly poor condition due to lack of maintenance. 

According to Cuban scientists 70% of the supply is lost in underground leaks. 

Thousands of people are cut off from the normal supply and are only supplied by cistern trucks. 

Especially in the narrow streets of Old Havana the trucks have a hard time to manoeuvre and deliver the precious liquid.

On the countryside the country faces another problem : the illegal connections. In an article in Juventud Rebelde, Nelson Garcia Santos speaks of "El agua qué nunca llega a su destino", ...the water that never arrives on its destination. The problem is "theft" by means of illegal connections and which is estimated at a flow that can supply 70,000 people. 

Much of the derived and stolen liquid is used in the agriculture, inspectors have found more than 20 illegal connections causing a pressure drop on the main distribution system.

Advice for tourists

Never drink tapwater, instead always drink bottled water as the liquid is frequently contaminated due to the worn and leaky pipe systems.

Drinking Water Truck Havana Cuba

Water Truck Havana


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