By the end of the month, Government’s plans to transform the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) will be revealed.
This was announced by Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales after the launch of the North West Water Supply Improvement Programme (NWWSIP) at Government Plaza in Port-of-Spain yesterday.
Back in March, during a ‘Conversations with the Prime Minister’ event in Bon Air West, Gonzales said the transformation plan was prepared.
It was led by a subcommittee headed by Minister of Housing and Urban Development Pennelope Beckles.
The Public Services Association (PSA) filed an injunction to stop the restructuring at the Industrial Court but WASA was given the green light to continue.
Last month, Gonzales said the final step of the plan was to meet with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
“I’m sure by the end of June, the country will be very clear in the direction in which the Government is going for the transformation of the Water and Sewage Authority,” Gonzales said.
The minister said WASA has a management issue and to fix the company they have to start there.
But as the authority works on fixing the internal problems, it is also working on external ones. It’s what the launch of NWWSIP is set to do for approximately 143,000 customers in north west Trinidad.
“You needed a project and you needed a plan that dealt with your infrastructure issues, that dealt with your lack of automation issues, as well as dealing with the water deficit issue,” Gonzales said.
He said NWWSIP will address the issues from a multifaceted perspective for customers in Maraval/Paramin, Diego Martin, San Juan/Laventille, Cascade/St Ann’s and Santa Cruz.
The minister said in the north west region, over $200 million is owed to WASA by customers and if they get 50 per cent of the money owed, they can do double these projects to improve levels of service.
“The objective of these plans is to ensure that no community in Trinidad and Tobago receives a water supply of below 24/3. We have too many communities getting a level of service once every nine days, I mean really,” he said.
Head of water projects at WASA, Shawn Sandy, said the programme has 53 projects that will take approximately a year and a half to be completed.
“Based on the variety of projects being implemented, we will start seeing project completion from as early as six months and the programme will be 80 per cent completed within 12 months,” Salandy said.
It’s work Member of Parliament of Diego Martin North East Colm Imbert is grateful for. The MP said in his over 30 years of service to the constituency, residents’ biggest problem has been water supply.
“People will call me at 11 pm on a Sunday night to tell me that they haven’t had water for the last three weeks, so my response will be what on earth I can do at 11 o’clock on a Sunday night. I also asked them what they have done for the last three weeks because you told me you haven’t had water for three weeks, they say they have been talking to WASA,” he said.
Imbert said this has been the reality in his constituency for the last 30 years and he was happy that a Minister of Public Utilities has finally recognised that it’s time to pay attention to the water supply infrastructure in north west Trinidad.
“I totally support this project, I endorse it and I will ensure as Minister of Finance that whatever funding is required will be provided for this project,” he said.
Minister Gonzales said in the coming months he plans to roll out the North East Plan, the Tobago Regional Water Improvement Plan and the Central and South Regional Water Improvement Plan.