Dr Lennox Sealy

GOING DIGITAL: Dr Lennox Sealy

NEW Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) executive director Dr Lennox Sealy says he will not be taking a combative stance in the transformation of the utility.

“I am not taking a combative stance. I am taking an international perspective. I see it as a technical position. I did not plan on the entire country calling my name ‘Sealy’ today. While WASA has not operated at its optimum, there are many other factors. We all need to deal with the issue of more water and higher quality water. It is about making sure the country has enough water to sustain itself,” he said in an interview with the Express yesterday.

Asked about metering, Sealy said: “Metering is on the cards. It can’t be dealt with immediately. We will have to work it in as we go through the transformation. All the new developments will be metered.”

On Tuesday, Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales announced that Sealy, a management consultant, will replace acting CEO Alan Poon King.

Poon King will resume duties as director of customer care.

Sealy also said he will be focusing on three key areas- transformation of WASA over the next three years, increasing the potable supply of water by better management of wastewater resources, and education about water conservation.

He said: “We have to better manage our wastewater resources, and educate the public about the importance of water. We don’t have an integrated water resources management strategy. We use more water than other countries. We have to bring water conservation to the table.”

After visiting Lopinot with Gonzales on Tuesday after the announcement, Sealy described Lopinot as having lovely clear rivers “but they are becoming polluted as they go downstream. People are asking about water for agriculture. But when people use the ‘slash and burn’ technique, more erosion of the soil, and general pollution affects the water supply. More damage is done to the river and its watercourses. It becomes more expensive to treat the water for consumption.”

Country boy

Before leaving for Lopinot on Tuesday, Sealy had told the Express in a brief interview he would be focusing on digital advancement and development of local intakes in rural communities like Matelot and El Quemado.

On the topic of online services, Sealy said: “All WASA customers who want building taps should be able to do it online. WASA’s suite of services should be moved online. People must be able to pay their bills online efficiently. I will be looking at online and digital improvements. If you look at the top ten needs of any country infrastructure is always on the list. We have an ageing infrastructure,” added Sealy.

A self-confessed “country boy” from Talparo in East Trinidad, Sealy said he has a keen interest in the needs of rural communities, noting that many rural communities have to depend on water trucks, tanks and natural watercourses.

He said: “I have a calm and collective approach. Sometimes remote communities don’t need to come onto the grid. It can be treated by using a rural intake without having to run pipes. We intend to put an intake in the fishing village of Matelot. I will be visiting El Quemado soon. Even if I have to drive up there. I know they depend upon the El Quemado spring.

“We have an abundance of water. We have to bring more remote communities onto the grid. But we don’t need to build pipelines from Lopinot all the way to the Eastern Main Road.”