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Bottled water sales escalate
Supermarkets in south and central Trinidad are reporting an increase in sales of bottled water which they are attributing in part to last Tuesday’s shutdown of the Desalination Company of T&T (Desalcott).
While there were no reports of water shortages, several supermarket owners said their bottled water supplies have run low because of increased demand.
Owner of Len Hap Supermarket in San Fernando, Peter Chang, said the Blue Waters brand was the top seller with a five gallon bottle being sold for $32. He said he first noticed a jump in sales last year.
“Most people are buying the 400 ml cases and the five gallon bottles. If you have one of the filter machines, you would buy the five gallon bottle,” Chang said.
He said another factor contributing to the increase in water sales is that people were becoming more health conscious. He added that sales of flavoured fruit drinks and soft drinks have declined.
“I have started drinking more water myself. A lot of children still have soft drinks but more adults have started drinking water,” Chang said.
Dave Roopnarine who purchases water from the Blue Waters factory said people choose to buy water because of health concerns.
“People simply cannot drink tap water anymore. It is brown and right now with the desalination shut down, some people believe they will not have access to tap water so we purchase water,” he said.
President of the Supermarkets Association Vernon Persad said water sales may have also jumped because of the Carnival season.
“This increase may not just be because of the shut down of the desalination plant. The overall trend is that water sales have increased and people are drinking more water because of the change in temperature,” Persad said.
Indra Ramanand of Parkview Supermarket said she has sold more than 500 cases of bottled water since Christmas.
Meanwhile, Corporate Communications manager of WASA, Ellen Lewis said planned works on the plant continue sand temporary water supply schedules remain in effect.
Lewis said additional hotlines have been instituted at WASA to respond to customer concerns.
She said senior management including acting CEO Gerard Yorke are now manning the six additional hotlines which were set up to assist customers affected by the desalination plant shut down.
“The new hotlines have been assigned to members of senior management up to the level of the CEO which is an indication of the importance we at WASA are placing on customer satisfaction during the period of the shutdown,” she said.
Lewis urged customers to manage their available water supply efficiently during the period of the shutdown.
• WASA’s new numbers are 326-3252, 362-1122, 342-4422, 318-1613, 721-4590, 490-9528 and 721-4788. The other hotlines numbers are 800-4420/4426, 800-LEAK and 662- 5932.
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