AZP News

A Water Miracle

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By ALICIA CHAMELY

It was a miracle! At approximately 5.30 a.m. on Tuesday almost 300 gallons of pipe borne water filled my water tanks!

Can I get an AMEN!

I refer to this as a miracle, since before Tuesday water had not been pumped to my house in close to eight months. I would love to say before those eight months of dryness, I received a regular water supply but sadly, NO! Months would go without water making it into my tanks.

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As such my family and I have been completely dependent on a truck borne water supply. It’s fairly safe to say that the phone operators at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) not forgetting the men who drive the water trucks and I could be considered friends.

So you see I laugh when WASA announces water restrictions and people who get a daily or at least four times a week water supply begin to cry and complain. I laugh because they have no idea how good they have it.

I would be more understanding of my water woes if I was a newly regularised squatter, who lives on a hill top miles away from the rest of civilization, but I don’t. I live on the Western peninsula where large majority of Trinidadians incorrectly believe people sit on golden gilded toilets and do not suffer under our country’s infrastructural short falls.

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Why this lack of pipe borne water? Well WASA has lots of excuses:

  • the booster station is broken
  • the booster station has been sabotaged (because apparently there is a ninja going around messing with WASA pumps)
  • the part we ordered to fix the booster has been ordered but is delayed
  • there must be a leak in a main, and
  • so forth

My favorite excuse was, “The team is at the booster station but they do not have the right tools.”

Cue: my highly aggravated husband jumping into his car, with his tool kit and literally showing to the WASA men how to fix the problem…he’s a handy guy.

The expanding population, the development of the manufacturing sector and the infrastructural growth of the nation has obviously led to an increased demand for water that WASA did not think to plan for and simply cannot supply.

WASA’s infrastructure has remained mostly unchanged over the last few decades, with little bits placed here and there. They lay pipe work in new developments, but often ignore existing areas that have expanded over time.

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An example of this was a recent spotlight on a section of the Laventille community, that despite being around for years, was never added to its network for either sewerage or water provision.

As expected the aged infrastructure is riddled with faulty pumps and endlessly leaking water mains. We are constantly being asked to preserve water, when I am pretty sure WASA is the biggest water waster.

Right now there is a main near my home, which despite being reported numerous times, is hemorrhaging water. It’s one of the countless leaks that waste our precious water supply.

So why can’t WASA fix them in a timely manner? Frankly I am not sure, because getting a straight answer from WASA is like dealing with my three-year-old after he’s eaten a bag of M&Ms. Staff issues, budget issues, fleet issues, it goes on and on and on.

Even truck borne water can be tricky. Not too long ago the contractors stopped delivering water because WASA had failed to pay them. People like me were screwed.

Honestly it’s not the WASA employees’ fault. The reality is for years WASA has been a political pawn. It has been passed around from Government to Government, board to board, with little to no sustainable plans, just quick shots of election promises.

—————–

Over the last two decades we have built an airport, a waterfront complex, stadiums, hospitals, a host of HDC developments, and other facilities dependent on water. So if we can do all of that why can’t we upgrade and improve our water delivery systems and reservoirs?

It’s simple, until it becomes profitable to someone with a party card, WASA and TT will continue to suffer.

In the meantime, I am going to enjoy a long hot shower while I am on hold with the WASA truck borne supply hotline.

(Alicia Chamely was last seen enjoying her miracle with a tall glass of pipe-borne water)

 

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1 Comment

  • If WASA was not so concerned about owning every drop of water nature gave us then one of the ways to solve our water woes could be:
    1. Subsidize every home with a roof to collect thousands of gallons every time it rains. Might even ease flooding. This subsidy could be similar to cold countries’ , assisting homes with insulation material.

    2. Provide people with simple filtration instruments. Or simply filter, boil and filter before drinking. Other uses for this water do not require that much cleansingy.

    3. People can assist by dealing with water as a precious commodity it really is.

    Regrets to Ms. Chamely and families who face these woes.

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