Reservoirs still low following weekend rains

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The Hollis Reservoir off the Valencia Road, Valencia. – File photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE passage of a tropical wave over the weekend ushered in the wet season with much-needed rainfall, but it was not enough to improve the country’s water supply.

Statistics provided by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) CEO Kelvin Romain showed that its Hollis reservoir in Valencia received the most rainfall on May 25 with 13 millimetres (mm). In Tobago, Hillsborough received 3.7 mm. The Navet and Arena reservoirs received 1.5 mm and 1 mm, respectively.

Despite the relatively low rainfall, Romain told Newsday the authority remains encouraged with the advent of the rainy season.

“It didn’t really make a significant impact but, nevertheless, we are encouraged and any rainfall is better than none at all. We do look forward to more rains as it was officially announced by the Met Office that the rainy season has officially started,” he said.

Romain was unable to provide the current reservoir levels but up to May 12, the four reservoirs were below their respective long-term averages (LTA). Data at the time showed Hollis was at 48 per cent (LTA 49 per cent), Hillsborough was at 48 per cent (LTA 58 per cent), Navet was at 38 per cent (LTA 53 per cent) and Arena was at 35 per cent (LTA 60 per cent).

At the time, WASA said these low levels were because of relatively low rainfall compounded by the loss of water at reservoirs because of evaporation owing to excessive heat. This, it said, reduced water supply by 35 million gallons per day (gpd).

WASA instituted several emergency measures during the dry season to better ration the water. This included a hosepipe ban; several adjustments to water schedules; increased water trucking; got Desalcott to provide additional water to south-west and south-central Trinidad; contracted Seven Seas Desalination to increase production by 300,000 gallons per day (gpd); and prioritised supply for health institutions, senior citizens homes, schools and religious institutions.