Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Discusses Water Supply at PCC Assembly
F1082327 Havana Television Service in Spanish
0100 GMT 28 Nov 87

[Dialogue between President Fidel Castro and unidentified delegates during
27 November sessions of the Havana City Provincial PCC Assembly held at the
Palace of Conventions in Havana---recorded]

[Excerpts] [Delegate] We must state this afternoon that we have fulfilled
our commitment.  The connection has been made in the pipeline bringing
water to Havana from the wells network north of Catalina de Guines to the
junction of point A on Fourth Street near Guanabacoa. [applause] We must
also report that El Gato project has been achieved through the huge efforts
of the builders and organizations that have undertaken this task as their
own. [passage omitted]

[Speaker] The tanks in this model [video shows man presenting Castro with
scale model of El Gato aqueduct], Commander, supply water at peak times;
that is, at dinner time, etc, when everybody is home.

[Castro] You mean because there is more demand then and the water supply

[Speaker] Water demand goes up because everybody goes home to take a bath
and to cook.

[Castro] Each tank is 40,000 cubic meters?

[Speaker] Thirty thousand each.  Sixty thousand between the two.

[Castro] Is that enough for one meal? [laughter]

[Speaker] No, there's also El Gato.  This is in addition to what comes
through the pipeline.  That is, it delivers...

[Castro, interrupting] This is extra.

[Speaker] That's additional at peak times.

[Castro] Have you explained the aqueduct to the public?  What are you going
to do next?

[Speaker] Actually, Commander, the explanation has been very general, but
there hasn't been a detailed technical explanation.

[Castro] What do you think about it as an engineering project?

[Speaker] Commander, in our analysis of hydraulic works, this is the most
important aqueduct ever built in our country, and the most complex, too.
We have one aqueduct built in the 19th century.

[Castro] The most important of all times?

[Speaker] No, no, since the 19th century.  There's the aqueduct in [words
indistinct] which was built 110 years ago.  It's a very important work,
made with another type of technology.

[Castro] How much water does that one handle?

[Speaker] It handles 90 million [cubic meters] a year.

[Castro] Almost as much as this one.

[Speaker] This one handles 100 [cubic meters].  But the other uses gravity;
it does not consume energy.  It delivers the water up to Old Havana, to the
famous El Chorro alleyway.

[Castro] Tell me one thing: What was the party's role in the construction
of that aqueduct?

[Speaker] Well, then...[laughter]

[Castro] There was no party!

[Speaker, laughing] No, I don't know, I don't think so.

[Castro] Well, the party had a role to play in this one in order to finish
it 6 months ahead of schedule.  Six months, isn't it?  Six months if
finished on schedule.  Wait, wait.  You can tell me the schedule said July
1988. but when were projects finished here?

[Speaker] No, no, it would have taken scores of years.

[Castro] This is a new phenomenon.  A project of this kind has been built
ahead of schedule.  We have had a really big reason to do it.  We have
suffered an uncommon drought this year, a widespread and a long-lasting
drought.  And now we have 90 million [cubic meters].  Isn't the capacity 90
[million] yet?  Fifty million, then.

[Speaker] A hundred million now.

[Castro] Right now.  Remember what we talked about.  We have to explain to
the public.  We don't want them thinking they have all the water the city
needs right away.  We have to explain they can't use it all.  It must be
rationed.  We have to work with a water reserve.  If we have 100 [million
cubic meters] available, we must use 50 or 60, to ease the situation.

We don't know if next year will be dry.  The other basins are at low
levels.  We can't use up all this water.  What if we have another dry year?
We'd better have a reserve.  Sixty million [cubic meters] is a good amount.
I was telling you that the public has to be told.  We don't want them to be
so happy about having the aqueduct that they think all water problems are
solved and we can start wasting water.  There's other important news; the
plant this year is going to produce around 70,000 metered meters.

We were saying the other day three times more water is used when there are
no meters.  Isn't that so?  So, it's very important the press and the party
cadres know how to explain this to the public.  We don't want them to think
that suddenly we have the great flood again here because of this dam.  This
is a big step forward, a big effort.  This project came just when we needed
it.  What is the deficit of the other basins?

[Speaker] At this time we have 1 cubic meter per second [words indistinct]
for the balance of irrigation of the two provinces.  For the year 2015, we
will have 249 million...

[Castro] Yes, but how many were we supplying a day?

[Speaker] Oh, you mean now, Commander?

[Castro] No, before now. When we reached the maximum, 1,200.

[Speaker] It's 1,186,000 cubic meters a day.  We are now supplying 700,000.

[Castro] Seven hundred thousand. And with this one?

[Speaker] With this one we will reach 900,000.  That is, we have half the

[Castro] Right.  But we have to explain that thoroughly. [passage omitted]

[Delegate] The workers have given a radical response in the most recent
assemblies to this problem of absenteeism.  Very important agreements were
reached by which promotions are out of the question for comrades who have
high absenteeism.  The situation was that workers involved in the
production of color television sets were being promoted according to the
scale, but many of them had high absenteeism.

[Castro] Perhaps we will have to modify the scale, so the more capable
people are placed.

[Delegate] As long as this doesn't happen at least...

[Castro, interrupting] That's one of the things we have to look into.
[applause] What are you going to produce in that industry?  How many color

[Delegate] We plan 100,000 color sets.

[Castro] What are the TV sets like? 1 mean, so far, are you optimistic
about the quality of the sets?

[Delegate] Yes, Commander, the television set is better.  That is what we
can say.  How much better?  It's going to be widely accepted.  However, we
are not yet satisfied with what has been achieved so far.

[Castro] But you are going to produce 40,000 [sets] next year.  How many
next year?

[Delegate] We'll build 45,000 next year.

[Castro] Well, the first sets so far we have distributed
...[corrects himself] Or were these the Soviet-made which came directly?
The ones we distributed among the hospitals, schools?  The ones we sent to
Cammanera and Isle of Youth?  What reports do you have?

[Delegate] The reports are good.  The repair rate is once a year; that is,
1,700 hours.  They break down once a year.  If we compare that with the

[Castro, interrupting] How much does it cost to fix them?  Do they break
down often?  A spare part, the tube, what?

[Delegate] No, they are simple repairs.  We have to fix the components, but
they are mechanical parts.

[Castro] Then we will be able to distribute a few television sets next
year.  My idea is to do it by factories.  To start distributing them when
there are enough as we did with the black and white sets.  There weren't
enough.  After giving them to schools, hospitals, workers' shelters, all
that.  Can you install a videocassette recorder with those?

[Delegate] Yes.

[Castro] Can we install a VCR in the future?

[Delegate] We can do it right now.

[Castro] Right now?

[Delegate] Right now.

[Castro] You don't say!  So, you are going to produce 100,000 television
sets.  What else?

[Delegate] We are going to produce 350,000 keyboards.

[Castro] Look what can be done with a collective that used to be
demoralized as a consequence of all the mistakes.  We are entering a new
stage, are we not?  The stage of electronics, order, discipline, quality.
In sum, the end of all the shoddy work, the contradictions unworthy of a
socialist state such as the ones created at the centers.  We can't use the
centers anymore because the hucksters don't want the students to train
there because it's to their disadvantage.  We'll be resolving all these
contradictions that have emerged.

That's good very good.  [passage omitted]