Corosal ‘blessed’ with water

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales is all smiles as water flows through the tap at the new WASA Corosal Booster Station on May 15. Residents of Corosal, Gran Couva, will now have a pipeborne supply of water, for the first time ever. – Photo by Venessa Mohommed

RESIDENTS of Corosal, Gran Couva, will now have a supply of water for the first time ever after the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) commissioned a booster station in the community on May 15.

Hassim Kalloo, 56, is among some 300 residents who will now benefit from a water supply, receiving it 24 hours once a week in the first instance. He is also among the 154 of these residents, who will be receiving a pipeborne supply for the first time.

Living in Corosal his entire life, he said he had to go around to neighbouring areas to collect water for his 60 cows and himself.

“I had to get 18 barrels of water to feed them cow. I have a Mazda van. I used to drive around by Preysal, Williamsville, wherever have water. Right now, we have no water home. I pumping water from a spring. It have a lot of tadpoles in the spring. I just built a filter with some strainer cloth or whatever, put my suction inside it, full my tank and come home and use that water to bathe. Not to cook,” he said.

It’s why he described their new water supply as a “blessing.”

“Electricity was a problem, it take some years, it came. Telephone come. But today, we having water here, today is a blessing.

“This is Christmas for me.”

Similarly, Sharda Dabiesingh, 47, said she was grateful for the supply which will benefit her household of four.

During the commissioning ceremony team lead for the Corosal Water Improvement Project Aarif Mohamed said additional wells and expansion at the Freeport water treatment plant will see the community receive a supply three times a week. He said the newly-built booster station in the community is fully automated, has two pumps and has a reserve capacity of 10,000 gallons.

Speaking during the commissioning ceremony, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said the $9 million project was undertaken after a group of residents, led by a missionary from Ghana, brought their plight to him at his constituency office.

“What really touched me was the resilience and the fact that even though they endure this for all these years, they remained very hopeful that one day God is going to answer their prayers and one day water will come to their homes,” he said.

Also speaking during the ceremony, resident Joseph Lamothe described the moment as the dreams of their parents and grandparents.

He said the community has been in discussions with non-governmental organisations and government ministers since 2007 to get a supply. He said they were able to get six communal tanks which alleviated some of their woes.

Gonzales was unable to give reporters an exact figure of how many communities were without a water supply in the country but admitted they do exist. However, he said this statistic has been shrinking since the Community Water Improvement Programme began three years ago. The programme is a collaboration between the Public Utilities Ministry and WASA.

During the ceremony, Gonzales thanked Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne for her representations on behalf of her constituents. He also commended her for her approach in representing her constituents when, through raising the issue with him, she was able to get a pipeborne supply of water to Cotton Hill.

“One day, I recall MP Anita Haynes-Alleyne walked up to me in the corridor of Parliament and she said that there’s a street by the name of Cotton Hill that never had access to water and she would like and she would appreciate whether we can consider a similar type of intervention. She did not make a song and dance. The Member of Parliament did not burn tires or engage in disruptive behaviour but she reached.”

“That is an example of what we can do when we put aside our differences and we work in collaboration, with decency to serve.”

Preceding Gonzales during the ceremony, Haynes-Alleyne expressed her gratitude to him and WASA for helping her constituents.