Gonzales promises more water for Tobago

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales at the launch of the WASA online approval system at T&TEC Sports Club in Scarborough on Tuesday. – Photo by David Reid

Tobago will continue to see additional improvements to its water supply, says Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales.

On Tuesday, Gonzales gave updates as he addressed the launch of the online services for new connections at the T&TEC Tobago Sports Club in Scarborough.

He said over the last six months, the Shirvan, Cut Hill and French Fort Booster stations have been completed, adding that these projects were implemented under the ministry’s Community Water Improvement Programme, “comprising very impactful, relatively small capital-investment projects funded under the PSIP and…intended to address delivery shortfalls in the supply of pipe-borne water to communities in receipt of the level of service of 24/3 and less. And in some cases…communities not in receipt of our water supply, period.”

He said the programme is being undertaken through a strategic partnership between the his ministry and the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).

“Shirvan, Cut Hill and French Fort Booster stations will immediately improve and stabilise the water supply to over 29,000 residents in the Crown Point, Sea View Trace and French Fort areas.”

The work, he said, does not end there.

“Plans are under way to construct two booster stations at James Street in Goodwood and another booster station at Hope Trace – these would provide approximately 270 residents with an improved and extended water supply – and the Les Coteaux main extension, which involves the installation of 250 metres of pipeline to replace the existing long service connections along Mason Hall/ Les Coteaux Road, will improve the level of service to at least 60 residents.”

Mentioning last month’s Tobago carnival, he said many people were surprised there were no cries from hoteliers and businessmen in the Crown Point area about water shortages.

The reason, he said, was a booster constructed near Shirvan Road.

“In the community water improvement programme, we normally would look at areas that complain a lot for water, for one reason or another.

“We were advised as to why we were having problems at that end point. We decided that we were going to put a booster station that would boost the supply from Courland into that particular area, and I instructed that this station should be completed in time for the Carnival season.”

When 80,000 people travel from Trinidad to Tobago, he pointed out, there will be an increased demand for water.

“So when everybody was having a good time and enjoying themselves in Tobago, I was on the phone getting real-time updates on what was taking place.”

He said proudly that despite a massive event such as Tobago’s first carnival, “I had no complaints about water in this particular area.”

He said he contacted MPs for Tobago West Shamfa Cudjoe and Tobago East Ayanna Webster-Roy to find out if they had received any reports of water shortages during that period and they said no.

Contacted on Wednesday, vice chairman of the Tobago Hotel and Tourism Association Carol-Ann Birchwood-James said the association received no reports of water shortage during the carnival period.

One hotelier who wished to stay anonymous said his establishment endured no water challenges.

“Usually for every high season we endured water challenges, this is the first high time that I can recall where we didn’t have a need for additional truck-borne water supply. I heard WASA reporting on a booster that was used in time for the period and with that I think we are on the right track,” he said.

Gonzales said in addition to these short-term projects, eight projects are being implemented under the Tobago water supply improvement programme. They aim to extend the times during which customers receive water and improve the overall sustainability and reliability of the supply.

The projects, he said, include a seven-kilometre pipeline from Signal Hill to Golden Grove and a 1.3-kilometre pipeline from Dwight Yorke Stadium to the Bacolet junction, which will allow the integration of the Hillsborough Dam and the Hillsborough West system, an adjacent well field, into the Courland system.

“When the water supply drops at the Courland area because of seasonal conditions, it would be easy to get water from Hillsborough and other well fields and integrated into those areas where the demand may be high, especially during the dry season.”

He said the development of a new ground source at Bad Hill to provide an additional 300,000 imperial million gallons per day to the Courland system and refurbishments to the Courland Water Treatment Plant would allow production at a design capacity of 6,800 cubic metres a day.

In the northeastern part of the island, he said, the projects being implemented will improve the supply to approximately 16,000 customers.

“The construction of the Goldsborough Intake and Treatment Plant will bring an additional one imperial million gallons per day year-round and be integrated into the Richmond system, allowing for the Richmond supply to be integrated into the King’s Bay and Charlotteville systems.

“This will in turn alleviate the severe water shortages experienced by these communities, especially during the dry seasons.”

Other projects in the northwest, he said, include 4.3 kilometres of PVC main along the Windward and Flagstaff Roads and a one-kilometre distribution main along Flagstaff Road, Charlotteville, to integrate the Goldsborough supply system and King’s Bay system into the Speyside and Charlotteville systems, bringing these customers a reliable supply.