The status of Cuba's aging, inadequate water treatment system greatly concerns the National Hydraulic Resources Institute, or INRH, state television reported.

INRH President Ines Maria Chapman referred to the matter in a report to the National Assembly.

"A lot of problems have piled up that need fixing," including the deterioration from years of exploiting the water system without adequate maintenance and a culture of "wastefulness" in the use of water, she told lawmakers.

She also said that every year Cuba loses more than 1 billion cubic meters (35 billion cubic feet) of water through leaks in the aging mains and connections inside the home, and compared that volume with the capacity of Zaza Reservoir, the biggest on the island.

With regard to the water system's infrastructure, Chapman said that the nation currently has 240 reservoirs and 805 micro-dams, 16 large pumping stations, 2,416 aqueducts and more than 22,500 kilometers (14,000 miles) of pipelines.

Water supply covers 94.5 percent of the population of 11.2 million inhabitants on the island, she said.

She also said that the greatest water-supply problems exist in rural areas, where only 38.6 percent of the inhabitants are connected to the system.

Chapman said that 6 percent of Cubans must get their water from cistern trucks, mainly due to the effects of drought and damage to pumps. EFE