New well at Las Lomas — Water ‘bussing’ pipes in Kernaham Trace after protest

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales, La Horquetta/Talparo MP Foster
Cummings, regional corporation officials, WASA officials, and residents of
Kernaham Trace, Las Lomas and environs gather as the ribbon was cut for
the commissioning of the Las Lomas #12 well on April 6 at Crystal Drive, Las Lomas No 1. PHOTO BY PAULA LINDO

“Water bussing we pipe!” was the cry from residents of Kernaham Trace, Cunupia, at the commissioning ceremony for Las Lomas Well no 12, Crystal Drive, off the Caroni Arena Road, Las Lomas No 1, on Saturday.

The residents of Kernaham Trace protested on March 2, as they said they had not had a steady supply of water for seven years. A month later, the residents are receiving water at least three-four days a week.

Resident Shantee Hosein said, “This water brought joy to us. For years, our taps were dry and with this project, we have water galore. My husband had to change all the lines and the pipe home, causing the pressure to burst the pipes.”

Elie Marlon said he was grateful to WASA for the “prompt and efficient” resolution to the water problems that had plagued the village.

“Your dedication and hard work have made a profound difference in the lives of everyone in the community. The lack of access to clean and reliable water has been a significant challenge to us, affecting every aspect of our daily lives.”However, thanks to your expertise and tireless efforts, we now have a functioning water system that meets our needs and ensures the health and well-being of our residents.”We want to say thanks to WASA and we want the water to continue bussing we pipe.”

Another resident, Judy, said water used to come for two-three hours around 2 am for three-four years.“Where I live, we used to have a little pressure, but higher up the hill there was none at all. Coming down to the last couple of months, there was none at all.”I called WASA, and I asked for trucks; nothing was coming.”Now we don’t have a problem, because we have water right through the week, sometimes three, four times a week, and we have tanks, so even if we don’t get it for a couple of days it’s fine.”

WASA board commissioner Allister Bandoo said after the protest, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales told him to investigate the situation by talking to the residents.“I started my investigation at the first house on the street, asked how often they got water, and they said very rarely.”You know if the first house at the bottom of the hill rarely gets water, it’s just going to get worse. It got more and more dismal as I went up the street.”What bothered me the most was that no one on the level to make a change was made aware of the issue. Engineers and technical authorities, you have an important role within the authority.”

He said the Kernaham issue also highlighted the over-reliance on the Caroni River and the water treatment to supply water.Bandoo said Kernaham Trace, Las Lomas and environs will receive an additional 350,000 gallons a day from the new well, allowing for more consistent pumping time. He said instructions had been given for more water to be found in the area, so more water would become available.

Water Projects head Shawn Salandy said the last time wells were drilled in the area was 15 years ago.Salandy said the new wells went into service on March 15, increasing the production of the Las Lomas Waterworks to 1.53 million imperial gallons per day. He said this resulted in an improvement in service to 6,660 people, in Las Lomas No 1, Las Lomas No 2, Las Lomas N. 3, Mahaica Trace, Kernaham Trace, Palm Avenue, Evans Trace and McLean Street, among others. “Some of these areas received a supply of less than once per week and are now receiving a minimum 24/2 supply.”

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales said WASA plans to drill 23 wells across TT in 2024, which will bring significant water relief to thousands of people and reduce the demand for a truck-borne supply.