Some Spanish and English words, such as tubo and “tube” are clear and indisputable cognates, at least in some contexts. “A tube of toothpaste” is, indeed, un tubo.
But when we talk about the tubería in a season as wet as this winter has been, we’re probably not referring to the internet being a “series of tubes”, but about the waterpipes and whether they will cope with amount of rain that continues to fall.
There is more snow on the mountains – on the rare occasion the clouds part and we can see them – than there has been for years, and there appears to be algae growing on the road where the neighbour’s drains are overflowing. Today’s Castilla y León newspaper supplement led with the story that almost 60% of the water reaching the region’s reservoirs is being run off for safety reasons.
The Real Academia defines the colloquial expression por un tubo as meaning:
En gran cantidad.
and gives the example:
Gana dinero por un tubo
At the moment, my own personal example of usage would probably be ¡tenemos agua por un tubo! – or perhaps three, as in the photo, taken on one of the few “dry days” in the last month.