Cuba to review water policy

Havana, Dec 24 (IANS/EFE) The Cuban government will study the development of a national water policy with an "economic" focus that will allow its use to be controlled and change the current water rates that are subsidized by the state, state media reported.

The president of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources, or INRH, Ines Maria Chapman, proposed at a meeting of the Council of Ministers headed Friday by President Raul Castro to develop a "coherent and economically sustainable" national water policy that would encompass all users in the country.

"Currently, the state subsidizes the supply of water, but with this policy and insofar as economic conditions permit, ... each (person or entity) will pay the corresponding tariff and thus develop greater awareness of the savings," Chapman told the official daily Granma.

The severe drought that has affected the country in recent years has raised the alarm about the supply of water on the island, where there are no large rivers and the biggest source of fresh water is rainfall.

INRH studies show that a large percentage of the water that is pumped each year in Cuba is lost without possibility of recovery, partly due to infrastructure problems.

--IANS/EFE

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