‘Twas a Week of Water Woes

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‘The hallmark of a functional nation and competent government is the ability to provide their citizens with a clean, daily supply of water’



Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

WOES! Woes! ‘Twas a week of woes, I tell you! Dry pipes and water woes! We are a land of woes!

Various communities, most notably in Southern Trinidad, took to protesting this week over their dismal, if not, non-existent water supply.

Listen, you can survive with electricity, might be uncomfortable at times, but you will live. Water? You need water. You need it to drink, prepare food, keep your body and surroundings clean.

From hand washing to basic sanitisation practices, water is also essential in the prevention of spreadable disease. Can you imagine getting a severe case of food poisoning from someone not washing their hands before preparing your food and not having a functioning toilet or supply of running water, because Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) cannot seem to get its life in order?


The hallmark of a functional nation and competent government is the ability to provide their citizens with a clean, daily supply of water. Once again, we have fallen behind.

Problems with water are nothing new and affect most of the island. I live in the northwest, and I haven’t received pipe-borne water for two weeks and it was another ten weeks before that. We depend on truck-borne water, as do my hilltop neighbours and many others in T&T.

Neil Transport Services

The excuses range from problems at pumping stations, reservoirs, leaking pipelines and a whole lot of other nonsense that just comes down to the WASA being a hot mess. Lots of promises get made, but very little gets done.

WASA aggravates me. It’s one of those government-run entities that’s been known as a hotbed for corruption, massive inefficiencies and being a greedy blood-sucking mosquito stuck to the backside of the national budget. Oh, and then they have the gall to consider raising their rates! Seriously? What ya’ll charging me for, air? Cause that appears to be the only thing in the pipes for many of us! The audacity!

But wait! In the midst of our citizens parched frustrations comes our Minister of Public Utilities, Marvin Gonzales! Water for all by December 2024! Rejoice my sweaty, thirsty people! No longer will you have to fill buckets or flip your draws inside out to save water by doing less laundry! Big plans are afoot!


Speaking to the Business Guardian last week, Gonzales said the government was embarking upon a billion-dollar upgrade of the water supply infrastructure at WASA.

The project is being funded via a $2.14 billion conditional credit line from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

Well, well, this seems promising! Do tell me more…

From what was detailed the first big step to be taken which is projected to start in early 2024 is the refurbishment and upgrade of the treatment plants at Navet, North Oropouch and Guanapo, the construction of two new water treatment plants in Tobago and Santa Cruz and drilling two new wells in Penal and Tucker Valley, Chaguaramas.


The goal is to have a greater and more reliable water supply that meets the increased demands of the population.

Now because I have a touch of Debbie Downer, as much as I applaud this effort, I do feel it is important for the Ministry of Public Utilities to also look at upgrades to the infrastructure that is meant to deliver all this fresh new tasty water.

Our pipe network is severely outdated. In many areas, you have water mains that were meant to provide water to let’s say 100 residences 50 years ago, but now those raggedy old pipelines must supply water to 200 residences and 50 businesses. The current infrastructure cannot handle the load. Without upgrades to our pipe network, we still won’t be getting an adequate supply of water.


Additionally, the added stress on this old pipeline infrastructure contributes to the endless saga of water leaks and busted booster stations. All that wonderful new endless supply of water will quickly end flowing down the drain, rather than in our taps…woosh!

While the project outline discusses the need to establish a system to mitigate leakage, there wasn’t much of a clear-cut plan. This leaves me thinking that while this project will help us get us to where we need to be in terms of a reliable reserve of water, will WASA be able to deliver this water to its customers?

When it comes to water in T&T, there needs to be a two-pronged approach. Supply and delivery. We currently have a solid plan for supply but for delivery it seems things haven’t been worked out yet.

In the meantime, I am welcoming the rains. Maybe I’ll set up a tank to catch rainwater to make up for the lack of water in the mains… oh wait don’t let WASA know, they’ll try to charge me for that too!

Till December 2024 folks!


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