South residents coping with low water supply

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Keshan Jamuna opens a water valve at his home in Diamond Village showing that there is no water flowing out of it on Tuesday. The valve is connected the WASA main meant to supply the village. – Venessa Mohammed

RESIDENTS of rural south Trinidad are coping with an adjusted water schedule but hope they can soon see an improvement in supply.

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) adjusted its water supply as recently as May 2. It is among several emergency measures implemented in the face of low reservoir levels brought on by low rainfall and compounded by excessive heat.

However, residents of South Trinidad are not satisfied with their schedules. According to the latest schedule available on WASA’s website, Diamond Village/ Esperance/ Golconda residents will receive water every eight days. Penal/Debe and Barrackpore/ Rock Road areas will receive a supply every seven days.

Knocking on his five empty and one half-filled tanks at his Picton home on Tuesday, Popram Dwarika, 80 said it was a regular plight for residents.

He said they get water almost every two weeks, but when it comes, the pressure is not enough to fill their tanks. At most, he said, they are able to get one completely filled tank. To survive, he said, they have been relying on buying water from a private operator.

“He go full up the four small tanks for we for $300. That’s how we does make out (but) to pay $300 every…two to three weeks… it hard for we but what we go do? We want the water.”

This was a similar complaint of several other residents within the Diamond/Esperance/Picton area. Those who lived on an elevation said they were often the last to get water in their pipes, believing they had to wait until residents lower down filled their tanks and were no longer drawing from the mains.

WASA provides free truck-borne water for its customers whose bills are up to date without arrears. However, Dwarika said the service took too long to get a supply to them which is why they chose to pay private suppliers.

“They (WASA) does give you one set of run around. Them know who to give and who not give boy, I know what I telling you.

“When you ask for a load of water today, you getting that about two weeks after, you know. Because the amount of limited trucks they have supplying school and all them places.”

While Newsday was at Dwarika’s home, his daughter-in-law came out holding a cellphone saying they were unable to get on to WASA’s call centre all morning.

Jim Street, Esperance, Philippine resident, Rafick Rasul, said they received water once a week while, less than five minutes away in Palmiste, residents benefit from a water supply twice a week.

“We living around a big boy area, just on the outskirts and it’s real trouble for water.”

Meanwhile, Bronte resident, Jassodra Sumair, 81, had barrels under the spout of her porch shed to collect rainwater.

On the other side, she has large plastic tubs near a standpipe which she can fill with water when she gets a supply to use for watering her plants. She also uses them to wash small batches of clothes with a washboard.

She said her four tanks were usually enough, but the recent schedule had been pushing its limits. She said a few days ago, she even ran out of water after her daughter and grandchild visited and washed some clothes.