A severe drought that has struck Cuba for the past eighteen months is affecting the water supplies of more than half a million people.
Many in Havana spend much time carrying water in buckets from government trucks because their taps have dried up.
The Cuban authorities have called on people to save every drop they can.
“It’s bad at the moment,” said market seller Yasmani Castillo. “One day, water will come in and then it won’t for the next two days. I hope it starts to stabilise, because we can’t keep on like this.”
Reservoir levels are low and farming has been badly hit. Cuba was once the world’s biggest sugar exporter but the sector’s long been in decline since the collapse of the main market, the Soviet Union. The drought is making things worse.
Sugar cane quality control officer Guillermo Rodriguez said it had hardly rained all year.
“There is some humidity in the soil because of two showers that we had recently that will keep the cane going a little. But if it doesn’t rain, the sprouting of the cane will be at risk.”
Climate experts have warned that droughts in Cuba have become more frequent and intense in recent decades.
A major state project is aimed at using mountain rainfall to supply water to farms and the population.