What’s Up with WASA?

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

WHAT’S going on with the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA)?

This sums up the several questions asked by Opposition politicians on Tuesday as they met to discuss the water problems facing a huge number of residents across Central and South Trinidad from unplanned interruptions to an electrical problem at the desalination plant in Pt Lisas.

At a press conference held at the United National Congress (UNC) headquarters in Chaguanas, the UNC members said for far too long, citizens have suffered as their basic need for water was not being met.

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They drowned Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales with criticism saying if he cannot do his job, he should let someone else take his place. 

Labelling the water situation as a “water crisis” the days for putting barrels at the side of the road to get water should be a thing of the past, they said.

Leading off the group of speakers was Member of Parliament for Princes Town Barry Padarath who is also the Opposition’s shadow for the Ministry of Public Utilities.


He said WASA can no longer make excuses for not properly managing the basic commodity and Gonzales can no longer cast blame on WASA as his ministry was the final authority.

The MP also said it was not for the Opposition to demonise WASA staff or the institution but to question its efficiency. 

Padarath asked for several updates regarding announcements made by Gonzales last year.

One included the announcement of water treatment modular plants in March 2022.

“The minister promised in October of 2022, that that facility, the first water-modulated treatment plant would have been delivered. Today, I asked the minister, in Central Trinidad, where can we go and locate that water modulated treatment plant that was supposed to add five million gallons of water additionally unto the grid to supply south and central Trinidad,” Padarath said.

He also questioned the arrangement with Canada who would assist in the setting of the plants.


Padarath said, “Apart from that water-modulated treatment plant, it was promised in Central Trinidad, the minister promised nine additional plants, 18 months later, where are we with the additional water modulated treatment plants?”

The issues affecting citizens most were public utilities related and social services which were not being delivered he said.

Padarath also asked about the US $80,000 loan obtained from the Inter-American development Bank also in 2022.

“Today, I want to ask, what has become of that loan? How much money has been appropriated out of that loan to assist the challenges of maintenance of poor infrastructure and dilapidated infrastructure at WASA,” he asked.

Padarath also asked for an update regarding the restructuring of WASA, the implementation of the National Integrated Water Resource Management (NIWRM) Policy and the proposed increased water rates.

Member of Parliament for Couva South Rudranath Indarsingh said government and WASA was out of touch with reality.

Couva South MP Rudranath Indarsingh. Photo: T&T Parliament

He read from a message received from a resident at Calcutta Rd No. 1 Couva on Tuesday morning.

“I applied for a truck-borne water supply since last Friday. Did not get any as of yesterday evening. I had to purchase a truckload of water last night because school started back and I was desperate on behalf of my family.”

On Monday, Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly speaking about the water situation in a voicenote said, “Routinely, the Ministry of Education collects data on a daily basis and provides it to WASA so that they can supply schools who require it with a truck-borne source of water. 

“So today, when there are issues with DESALCOTT it was simply using our routine measures of our usual system to send to WASA the information about schools requiring water and WASA responded effectively and efficiently as they usually do so that averted any major disruption of school operations due to water today.”

Also speaking at the press conference were MPs Khadija Ameen, Ravi Ratiram and Davendranath Tancoo.

MP for Oropouche West Davendranath Tancoo Photo: T&T Parliament

The chairmen of the UNC led Corporations also spoke about their grievances with WASA.

With the exception of the San Fernando City Corporation and the Point Fortin Borough Corporation, the UNC is in control of all other Regional Corporations from Central to South Trinidad.

Apart from the water policies and management, they complained about customer waiting time to first speak to a WASA representative and then to actually get truck-borne water in a timely manner that WASA advertises was limited and available upon request.

The UNC is proposing as short-term immediate measures that contractors who supply water be increased. These contractors should liaise with the MPs and regional corporations affected to provide relief to more persons.

Khadijah Ameen. Photo: T&T Parliament

They are also asking for sufficient funding to be provided to the regional corporations to lend assistance in the provision of water.

“Many of us represent rural constituencies, rural districts, and we are calling for the establishment of community tanks in some of these areas. It is a short-term relief measure for rural areas, they are able to get a bucket, a barrel, a tub.” Padarath said.

He added, “As a short term plan, we are proposing these things but government must act with immediacy.”


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