Stock photo source Ángelo González
Every day, Geewan Singh has been travelling from Sangre Grande to Valencia to fill several containers with water.
“In my house there has been no water for a week. Every day I come to Valencia to get clean water and go back home to try to continue with our normal lives,” he said.
On Wednesday afternoon Singh was filling six containers in the Hollis North Project Phase 5, on the corner of Castillano Trace.
He’s only one resident of several areas in northeast Trinidad which have not had pipe-borne water for several days.
When Newsday visited various areas, in Malabar, residents said they have had no water for two weeks.
“Its a big problem. Many families don’t have large storage tanks and must wait daily for free trucks from the regional corporation,” said Michael Jones.
Some families pay up to $200 to have their tanks filled by private trucks.
“The only thing I know is there are problems with a pipeline in Valencia, but nothing more. I also don’t know how long we will have to put up with this situation,” Jones said.
WASA said in a statement the lack of water is due to a leak in a 42-inch transmission line leading out of the North Oropouche water treatment plant, in the area of Valencia.It said the leak,which is close to a river, appears to have resulted from erosion and landslides in the area as a result of recent rains.
WASA first said it was mobilising equipment and materials to begin extensive repairs to the plant, which would interrupt the water supply from 8am on August 25 to 8am on August 27.
But an update said operations at the plant would stop at 6pm on August 23 to start emergency repairs before the scheduled date of August 25.
That statement said the disruption was expected to go on until 10pm on August 26.
Brennon Patterson, councillor for Tumpuna, in the Arima Borough Corporation, told Newsday on Wednesday via WhatsApp that residents were concerned.
“However, we are trucking water through the corporation. At this point we have completed all requests as at 2pm,” he said. “So far, we have probably served more than 200 households….So we are using the time and our goodwill to get the trucks done right now.
“WASA has also doubled down on its trucking service.”
Asked if he had spoken with WASA management about restoring service, Patterson said as of 2.30 pm on Wednesday he still didn’t know when it would return.
Several trucks were waiting for their turn to be filled with water on Wednesday afternoon at the WASA Subero Street filling station in Arima. Each 2,400-gallon truck had to wait 25 minutes to be filled and then go to a different area.
WASA suggested customers in the affected areas should maintain or set up a storage system, and also manage their water use.
It also said, “A limited trucked water service will be available upon request.”
Customers were asked to contact the WASA Customer Service Centre toll-free at 800-4420/4426.
Sangre Grande and environs
Guaico Tamana Road
Sangre Chiquito and Toco Road
Manzanilla and environs
Malabar Phases 1, 3 & 4
O’Meara Road (including the industrial estate)
Mausica Road (North & South)
Bon Air West