Fishermen and Friends of the Sea (FFOS) respectfully presents these recommendations to Minister of Finance Colm Imbert, as we believe they may reduce our dependency and relieve T&T of the annual expenditure of over $500 million for privatised, man-made, desalinated water.
We commend our Government that after five years in office, it is now alerted that our population needs water security. As such, earlier this month a committee was appointed by Prime Minister Keith Rowley to create a plan in which the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) would be restructured. FFOS commends this effort and awaits the report of this committee.
We are asking the Finance Minister to reserve appropriate budgets for the following potential remedies for the age-old and escalating water crisis.
1. A budget for pumping and treatment of water from our northern rivers, such as the Oropouche and Ortoire rivers.
2. A budget for the sustainable damming of Northern Range valleys similar to that of the Hollis Reservoir. There are several low-populated valleys, such as the Cumaca and Platanal valleys, that can be dammed to increase our overall water capacity and potable water retention and production.
3. A budget for third-party repair and replacement of the broken mains and the development of a programme of active leak control, thereby improving water transmission throughout the country and conserving our limited potable water supply. Chairman of WASA Romney Thomas, during a Public Accounts Committee, reported that approximately 40 to 45 per cent of water is lost through leakages.
4. A re-examination of the roles and functions of the employees of WASA, as it was reported by the Regulated Industries Commission in 2018 that WASA has four times the number of employees per 1,000 connections, when compared globally.
FFOS offers our services, if so requested, to input into this restructuring of WASA to help in obtaining a suitable outcome.