Castara resident: ‘Our pipes dry for over a week’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Castara resident Junior Quashie –

Residents of Castara, Tobago, are calling on the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to solve their water woes immediately.

On Monday, a small group of residents protested, as they said they have not received a supply of pipe-borne water for over a week. The residents blocked the road to the village with burning debris.

Resident Junior Quashie said the village has been hit hard.

“Water used to always go and come, go and come, but the real issue started over a week. The pipes have been dry for just over one week.

“Imagine, I had to leave Castara and go Bloody Bay to get water for my family with my van. My tanks went dry.”

He said the residents were fed up, and that THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine, the electoral representative for the area, is well aware of the issue.

“He was posting what WASA had told him. Once WASA communicated with him, he posted it on different social media platforms.

Fire officers clear a road in Castara on Monday after residents blocked it to protest the lack of water. – TEMA

“But nothing ever came to pass. We got water during the protect action but by 10am, as the situation eased, it gone again.”

He said residents believed the protest was the best way to get their demands met.

“The message reached the relevant authority – if they don’t do what they’re supposed…In my whole life, I never got water issues like this.”

He said even the fishermen were affected.

“The tank on the beach was filled on Wednesday and we had to go next door to ketch water by bucket Saturday and Sunday. That is to tell you how bad it was. Fishermen tried to go out this morning when they see water come. On the beach have two tanks, and for those tanks to empty…When the water come, it not staying long to full back the tanks that the fishermen does use.”

He described the action as unplanned.

“The young people just said enough is enough, and they decided to let the people involved know that we deserve better. It was no plan nothing, they just said enough is enough, and that was it.”

Another resident, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “We need a steady flow of water on a set schedule. We need water at least two or three times for the week as for starters, we don’t know what time water comes and what time it goes. We definitely need a proper schedule.”

Another resident, a pensioner, said: “We are asking for the relevant authorities to step in and do what needs to be done, that’s all,”

President of the Castara Tourism Development Association (CTDA) Bertille Taylor said while he too was affected, he was not worried.

“Yesterday, I really run out of water. I actually had water trucks come to fill up my tanks, and I was in contact with WASA, so I understood that they were working on the issue, so I wasn’t worried.”

However, he said he was concerned for others.

“There are those who haven’t seen water for more than a week. They have tanks and so on in their yards, but these were out of water for a number of days, and that in itself is hard.”

He said he owns a rental property in the area.

“I had guests and I told them about the water problem. Before my water could have finished, I ordered a truck-borne supply, just about 1,200 gallons. I know by this morning, water was supposed to come back, and now it’s back. I was able to full up my tanks actually.”

Newsday made several calls and sent messages to Augustine seeking a response, but up to press time, there was none.

In a press release, WASA said the issue affected customers served by the Parrot Hall Booster Station, and the facility was returned to full operations at 3.45 am.

It explained, “This follows the completion of repairs to a combination of mechanical and electrical issues that have impacted operations at the facility since 2nd March, 2022.”

It said customers in the lower areas of Parlatuvier and Castara were already receiving a supply, while lower Bloody Bay was expected to receive a service by noon, and those at higher elevations in Castara, Parlatuvier and Bloody Bay would receive a supply by 10 pm.

It warned it might take up to 24 hours for the supply to become fully normal in some affected areas.

It added that a limited truck-borne service would be available, with priority given to health institutions, government agencies and homes for the aged.