Water relief promised for San Francique

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

WEEKEND PROTESTS: Residents of several communities in San Francique brought baskets of dirty clothes out to a protest on Saturday over three-months of no water in their pipes. –

Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales is promising water relief to residents in San Francique, South Trinidad, a day after they staged a protest.

With under a week to go before Divali celebrations, the predominantly Hindu community has been crying out for water as they claimed there has been no pipeborne water for the past three months, they claim.

Residents who live in Antilles, Tennant, Ramcharan, and Santa Cecilia Traces, as well as in Pluck Road and parts of the Woodland area, all claimed the last time they saw water in their taps was in August.

Many have had no choice but to pay for truck-borne water and in some cases, have had to take their dirty laundry to be washed by friends and/or family members outside of the community.

With no water, many have been unable to carry out routine cleaning of their homes as part of preparations for the Hindu festival of lights.

The fed-up and angry residents staged a protest on Saturday Saturday morning, blocking the roads with burning debris and waving placards.

Siparia mayor and councillor for the area Doodnath Mayrhoo said he was told of an “impact” to the waterline in Santa Cecelia which occurred during a landslip. He said WASA has asked a contractor to effect repairs to the area where the landslip occurred so their workers can access the damaged water line.

“I have spoken to the contractor twice and they have not done anything to facilitate WASA. As a result thousands of people are suffering,” Mayrhoo said.

He said MP Dave Tancoo also wrote to Minister Gonzales, underscoring the importance of water especially at this time when the mainly Hindu community would have been preparing for Divali which is on Sunday.

“The minister has not had the courtesy to respond to MP Tancoo. It seems as though they want us to riot for water down here in San Francique,” the angry mayorr said.

Mayrhoo claimed receiving upwards of 30 calls a day from residents complaining about the lack of water.

On Sunday, Gonzales confirmed that a project undertaken by the Ministry of Works and Transport to repair a major landslip, was responsible for disrupting a pipeline which channels water to the affected communities.

He said WASA has been diverting and realigning this line which is due for permanent relocation pending the final works by the works ministry.

In the interim, Gonzales said, roads leading to the affected areas are so badly deteriorated that water tankers cannot get access to communities to provide water to residents.

He said works were ongoing on the weekend to stabilise the area so that a supply can be restored by as early as Sunday evening.