Alan Poon-King

Alan Poon King

BACK-to-back harsh dry seasons have taken a toll on the country’s water supply.

Alan Poon-King, chief executive of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), admitted yesterday that WASA is “experiencing challenges with maintaining a reliable water supply to several communities”.

Some of these communities include Manzanilla, Five Rivers, Tacarigua, Maracas, St Joseph, Santa Cruz, Morvant/Laventille, Belmont, Chaguanas, Endeavour, Longdenville, California, St Mary’s, Debe, Penal, Siparia, Mayaro, Tableland and Barrackpore.

Speaking at a news conference at the Authority’s sports club in St Joseph, Poon-King said consecutive harsh dry seasons were to blame for the reservoirs’ lack of water and disruptions in regular water production.

He added, “Under normal conditions, the Authority produces and distributes approximately 242 million gallons of water throughout Trinidad and Tobago. However, in light of the present conditions, overall production has been reduced to approximately 200 million gallons per day.”

He said the hardest hit facilities were the Caroni Water Treatment Plant and the North Oropouche Plant.

“Caroni Water Treatment Plant, which normally produces 75 million gallons per day and supplies areas in Northwest, Central and Southwest Trinidad, is now producing 40 million gallons daily.

“At North Oropouche Water Treatment Plant, that supplies parts of northeast, production has been reduced from 23 million gallons daily to 14 million gallons per day. This is having a significant impact on the Authority’s ability to maintain a reliable water supply to several communities, particularly at high points or at the extremities of our distribution systems.”

WASA re-distributing water

However, Poon-King said improvements are being made.

He said. “I want to assure customers who are experiencing a less-than-acceptable service, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic that we are working assiduously to improve their supplement via a truck-borne supply.”

What are some of these improvements?

WASA is redistributing water from unaffected areas with high pressure to more water-stressed areas on the periphery of the water distribution system.

Additionally, reservoir management, increased ground water production, maintaining the desal supply, ensuring there is minimal downtime for repairs, and increased truck-borne water supply will help the supply of water produced and distributed to customers, he said.

Conserve water

WASA is also calling on customers to conserve water. Poon-King said, “Customers are encouraged to employ water conservation habits in their daily lives.

“This may include simple adjustments in how we use water such as shortening showers to two to three minutes, closing the tap while brushing your teeth, washing only full loads and using that water to wet plants, using a broom instead of the hose to clean your yard and using a bucket to wash the car.

“Remember the less water you use, the more there is available for use later by you or your neighbours.”

Poon-King said there are short term plans in place for additional water production.

“The Authority is undertaking the drilling of new water wells along with the rehabilitation of existing wells. These include wells in Arouca, Arima, Santa Cruz and Tucker Valley and in Tobago- Carnbee, Calder Hall and Mary’s Hill.”

Reservoir Current % Capacity Long-term Average % Capacity

HOLLIS 24.41 43.23

ARENA 23.53 53.08

NAVET 29.26 48.74

HILLSBOROUGH 58.04 55.60