lagoon

A lagoon in south Trinidad.

MEMBER of Parliament for Oropouche East Roodal Moonilal yesterday wrote to the Chief Executive Officer at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) Alan Poon King, pleading for a supply of water for his constituents, including from the Muslim community who celebrated Eid ul Fitr yesterday.

Moonilal wrote, “I have received numerous complaints of water shortages and I particularly empathize with my brothers and sisters of the Islamic faith who are challenged on this blessed day to prepare meals, sweets and snacks for family, neighbour and friends after the period of fasting. It is burdensome that at a time when persons cannot go to their place of worship as they would desire, they are without so basic a necessity as water at their residences.”

The MP said that there is a lack of pepe borne water supply and water levels were critically low in some areas. “We are requesting immediate relief in the short term.”

Moonilal said some of the affected areas included Ramai Trace, Mohess Road, Lower Barrackpore, Cuchawan Trace and Debe. “Homes have been without water for ten to 16 consecutive days. It becomes almost a sham for the government in the context of Covid-19 to ask citizens to ‘wash their hands regularly’ but failed to provide water,” he said in the letter.

Chairman at the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation Dr Allen Sammy also spoke of residents in the area needing water.

“Areas around Barrrackpore, all of Penal, they are suffering severely … Those are areas that have been suffering badly … they have been suffering for weeks. It has been three weeks, people keep reminding me every day,” Sammy told the Express.

He said that the areas are serviced by the Desal Plant and Navet Dam. “It seems to me the Desal Plant is always down rather than up … All we are saying is distribute it equitably, we don’t expect water 24/7.”

Sammy added that for times such as Eid ul Fitr, people would engage in cleaning and cooking and not having water would have severely curtailed their activities.

Poon King told the Express that, given the dry season conditions the country continues to experience, “we have had a very harsh April ... We also have below normal rainfall for the month of May, so far.” He said because of this, production has been reduced by around 20 percent.

He said this had led to WASA looking at the redistribution of water. “What we have been doing is looking at the areas that have a more regular supply, getting water five, six and seven days a week and we’ve adjusted the schedules to focus on the areas that are scheduled once and twice per week to try to get water to those areas. Given the shortfall we would have had some success in some areas and not in others. Particularly with respect to that Oropouche area, including Barrackpore and so on, we have started putting additional water into that area,” Poon King said.

He added that that on Saturday, some of the areas would have started to have pipe borne water, though the pressure was low. “That exercise will continue into tomorrow (Monday) and in cases where we have a shortfall, we will be doing trucking on an on-going basis to meet those customers that we didn’t get via the pipe ... We have been looking to get water from the areas with a more regular supply to divert it to the Penal/Debe region, which in large part includes the Oropouche East constituency.”

Poon King said there are other communities throughout the country that are similarly affected. “North east, we have areas in Arouca, in Manznailla, some parts of Sangre Grande, even northwest and into central Trinidad.” He said they have been doing redistribution of water and supplemental truck borne water supply as required.

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