Minister of Public Utilities and Lopinot/Bon Air MP Marvin Gonzales, third from left, unveils a commemoratory plaque along with Communications Minister in the OPM Symon deNobriga as WASA officials look on at a commissioning ceremony for the Lopinot Water Treatment Facility La Pastora Branch Road, Lopinot. – ROGER JACOB
Over 100,000 residents of Lopinot will now enjoy 24/7 levels of service following the commissioning of the Lopinot Water Treatment Facility, corner La Pastora Branch Road, Lopinot Road on Tuesday. The joy of residents was palpable as some said they had not had pipeborne water for generations.
Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) project lead Aaqil Ali, speaking at the commissioning ceremony on Tuesday, said the facility was built under WASA’s community water improvement programme (CWIP). The fully functional facility began operating in May 2022. He said it had a capacity of treating 120,000 gallons per day, supplying a 24/7 level of service.
Lopinot/La Florissante councillor Dwayne Mora said the project was one of several which had been carried out in the area recently, including the installation of new pipes in Burnley Street resulting in 96 people getting water for the first time, the installation of lights in Lopinot, the building of a new community centre in Surrey, and the commissioning of the water treatment plant.
“In Toni Ravine, they haven’t had water in 100 years, and through this plant, they finally received water in the tap. I’m calling on residents in the area to be responsible individually and as a community, let us not waste water, let us hold individuals who are working against the community accountable, and let’s work together to uplift the community of Lopinot.”
Resident Christine Bally-Auguste, who lives in Toni Ravine, said she had originally applied for a WASA connection to have a utility bill in her name, as a pipe-borne water supply was new to the area.
One of the pumps and some of the tanks at the new Lopinot Water Treatment Facility commissioned by WASA at La Pastora Branch Road and Lopinot Road, Lopinot, on Tuesday. – ROGER JACOB
“Shortly after the plant came into operation, my neighbour called me to say water was gushing out of my pipe. I could not believe it and also the water pressure was really high because of this plant. I want to thank Minister Gonzales, who has been a familiar face in the community since he was elected MP for the area.”
Resident Lisa Farrell said after many years of wanting, the residents could rest at ease because for the first time they had a steady powerful supply of powerful water. She thanked the WASA workers who she said worked 24/7 to complete the project which was started in January.
There were performances from groups in the area, including the Lopinot Parang Band and the Guerrero sisters. WASA workers and members of the community were presented with certificates and tokens of appreciation.
Public Utilities Minister and Lopinot/Bon Air MP Marvin Gonzales said the community was the latest beneficiary of the community water improvement programme which WASA started in July.
“When I was selected to run for the area, I came to this community for my first meeting, and Lisa Farrell broke down in tears when she spoke about the need for water. At the time I didn’t imagine I would have won the seat or been appointed Public Utilities Minister to be able to rectify the situation. Her cries and those of others who reached out in tears about not having water to do basic things. When I became Public Utilities Minister I said I would do everything I can to touch the lives of every community in TT.”
Gonzales said he read a 1959 newspaper article which said the water problems affecting the country would be fixed in 1962, but in 2022 those problems still persisted. He said 64 per cent of the population now enjoy a 24/3-24/7 supply for the first time.
“This project would not have been completed without the help of the community. One house helped with supplying electricity to our equipment, while another opened their kitchen so the WASA workers could make their soup and their roti. I want to thank the WASA workers who came together to work on the CWIP programme to complete this project.”
Gonzales said the last plant built to service the area was built in 1972 under Hector McLean. He thanked all the people who had represented the area over the years.
“We are going to fix the road, restore the historical site, and now you have the infrastructure to grow and take charge of your community. The plant will produce 100,000 gallons for the next ten-15 years. Take care of the facility, don’t allow unauthorised access that could pollute the facility.”
Gonzales called on all residents to come together for the good of the community.