WASA outlines ‘robust’ water relief measures

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

WASA Caroni water treatment plant. – File photo

IN anticipation of a planned protest which failed to materialise on June 12, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) has responded with a list of measures to address critical water shortages in South and Central Trinidad.

The protest was reportedly planned for Chaguanas in the morning on June 12.

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales condemned the move, one which he suspected might have been initiated by the Opposition United National Congress (UNC), as some of the areas it represents have been severely affected during the dry season.

In a news release issued on June 12, WASA’s communications department said it was addressing the supply challenges some customers faced in these areas.

WASA said it viewed this protest for water as “unfortunate,” considering what it said was its demonstrated policy of engaging all stakeholders in open, honest and meaningful dialogue.

It recalled that in anticipation of a harsh projected 2024 harsh dry season, and before it began, there was collaboration between the authority and the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (Met Office) to devise a robust water management plan.

To this end, it said, issues including below-average rainfall, climate change and their impact on the country’s water resources were presented to the public.

On May 13, at a news conference including these two bodies and hosted by the Public Utilities Ministry, customers were told reservoirs were well below their long-term averages, the impact of prolonged, harsh dry season conditions, and mitigation measures that were being adopted.

It was announced that a central command centre would be set up immediately too monitor production and supply challenges on a 24-hour basis.

WASA also said it had an increased water-trucking capacity with service centralised to the command centre and regional trucking schedules, a 24-hour- customer call to receive and address the needs of affected communities, and three additional hotline numbers in operation between 10 pm and 6 am.

In addition, supply was redistributed from more resilient areas to adversely affected areas, along with an additional supply from Desalcott, to bolster affected supply zones.

Seven Seas Desalination was also contracted to increase production by an additional 300,000 gallons of water daily, with emphasis on health and religious institutions, senior citizens’ homes and schools.

WASA said despite the challenges to areas including Caparo Valley, Waterloo, Freeport, Springvale, Dow Village, Debe, Clarke Road, Lower Barrackpore, Penal and Scott’s Road, it had managed to navigate the dry season.

With the onset of the wet season, WASA said it was optimistic of a complete recharge of its reservoirs and anticipated pipe-borne delivery according to established schedules, which are available on social media platforms.

Saying south and central supply zones remain the priority, WASA pointed to 11 completed projects under the Community Water Improvement Programme (CWIP) which it said had brought relief to 4,840 direct beneficiaries and others to improve the supply further.

It said it would engage stakeholders, regardless of location, to improve delivery service, and all that is required is the will to engage in constant and meaningful dialogue.