WASA Mother’s Day woes: Social media backlash over dry taps

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

The post by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) on Sunday that prompted hundreds of comments about dry taps. – Taken from WASA’s Facebook

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) faced swift backlash on Sunday from social media users demanding water when it posted Mother’s Day greetings on Facebook.

The WASA’s Facebook caption read, “From us to you, Happy Mother’s Day,” accompanied by a photo bearing the image of four red tulips sprinkled with water droplets.

Within minutes of the post, dozens of dissatisfied customers began to flood the comment section.

“Allyuh should be ashamed to post this,” said one user.

“Happy Mother’s Day with no water in our pipes, can’t wash or cook.”

With over 100 comments, all of which criticised the authority’s failure to provide water in their respective areas, people complained that their daily household chores could not be done.

Councillor for Palmiste/Hermitage Raven Ramsawak wrote, “I think the population would love to have water in their taps for Mother’s Day, don’t you think?”

A Chaguanas resident said, “Send water so my mother can bathe today.”

“Mothers’ have no water to even take a shower,” said a Caroni user, while others begged for water to cook and wash.

Another user advised WASA to keep their greeting until they could provide water to the public.

Sensing the backlash an hour later, WASA posted a notice on its Facebook wall urging its customers to call its customer care centre if they were experiencing difficulties. The caption said the centre is open “24 hours.”

The new post told customers that the customer care line has become necessary to accommodate those who are negatively impacted by the ongoing dry season conditions, which have affected several of the authority’s water treatment facilities.

Within minutes of the new posting, users also flooded the comment section, criticising the authority, with one Siparia woman saying,

“What is the point? The service was poor before the dry season.”

Another user wrote, “Great idea, but you have to get someone to answer the phone.”

The majority of people voiced their frustration over not having anyone answer the care line.

“24 hours for what? We are calling forever and no one is answering the phone.”

On March 5, WASA officials described this year’s drought as the worst the authority has seen at a media briefing at the Caroni water treatment plant in St Helena.

WASA announced water restrictions until June 30, describing it as an immediate means of dealing with dwindling water supplies in the nation’s dams and reservoirs.

At the briefing, WASA’s Director of Operations, Shaira Ali, placed a ban on the use of hoses and similar apparatus for watering private gardens and/or washing private cars. Water fountains and decorative fixtures using water are not allowed in business places or private homes.

The authority said it is taking water theft very seriously, saying its estate police unit would increase patrols throughout the country.

In January, WASA said it would commission 18 new wells and on May 8, via a media release, the authority said work will begin on two new water treatment plants in Goldsborough, Tobago, and Santa Cruz, which will supply a total of six and a half million gallons of water per day.

The statement said 17,000 residents will benefit from the Goldsborough treatment plant and the new treatment plant in Santa Cruz will benefit over 14,000 residents.

“This is a part of the National Water Sector Transformation Programme and will cost approximately $48.7 million for the Tobago plant and $80.7 million for Santa Cruz.”

Both plants are expected to be completed in 18 months and are being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under a loan agreement.