Minister: Better water supply coming to flood-hit areas

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales. File photo/Angelo Marcelle

A better water-supply is already on its way for various areas of TT, promised Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales in a statement on Tuesday, citing the re-starting of the Desalcott plant, fixing of ruptured mains and the use of water trucks.

Citing an earlier statement by Princes Town MP Barry Padarath, Gonzales said WASA was helping flood-hit communities which lack a pipe-borne water supply and where necessary, providing a truck-borne supply for clean-up operations.

“In the past month, unprecedented adverse weather conditions severely impacted several surface water treatment facilities across TT, including in those areas that were affected by flooding.”

Gonzales said, furthermore, the annual planned maintenance shutdown of the desalination plant by the privately owned Desalcott presented a further challenge for WASA to meet the demands of its customers in Central and South Trinidad. He said the maintenance was planned months ago, and included importing foreign resources.

“When the adverse weather impacted the country last week, I instructed the authority to call on Desalcott to postpone the shutdown, which they did for as long as possible. Despite further pleas by me to postpone the shutdown, the plant was still shutdown in order to facilitate the maintenance.

“At present (Tuesday), Desalcott has completed the planned maintenance and resumed service and supply to the authority with several customers in south Trinidad, currently in receipt of a potable water supply.”

Gonzales noted with concern the plight of those so hit by flooding and wished to assure them WASA was working to help citizens to safeguard themselves.

“In Mayaro, resources were redirected from the Navet facility to assist with flood relief efforts. Parts of Penal Rock Road also benefited from a redirected supply from the Navet Facility. During the period of the Desalcott shutdown, the Caroni Water Treatment Plant remained in full operation and also supplemented supply to areas of south Trinidad.”

In St Augustine, he said, supply remained unaffected with adjustments made to increase pressures to help cleanup efforts.

He said WASA constantly monitored its surface water treatment facilities in Northeast Trinidad which were most vulnerable, with a swift restoration and return to service activity helping to alleviate the citizens’ discomfort.

“The North Oropouche Water Treatment Plant which experienced a breach of the 42-inch transmission pipeline, was also repaired and service restored to the town of Sangre Grande on Sunday, December 4.”

That day a ruptured line from the Cumuto Water Treatment Plant was repaired and production resumed.

Manzanilla, at the extremity of the North Oropouche Distribution network, is due to get water on Wednesday, Gonzales said.

“All these efforts were further supported by a truck-borne service to all regions with special emphasis being placed on those areas that were affected by floods.

“In the aftermath of adverse weather events, the authority is committed to the restoration of water supply to all citizens and firmly stands by our team members who went above and beyond to ensure our citizens have access to this much needed resource.

A virtually identical statement was issued by WASA on Tuesday.