Last update: 22-Dec-2013 1:22 am
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Residents welcome $20m pipeline in Couva North
About 5,200 residents from the Couva North constituency are benefiting from a $20 million pipeline which was constructed by the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) from May 2012 to March 2013, that will now supply water to their homes all day, every day. Community members, WASA representatives and government officials gathered at Chandernagore Presbyterian Primary School, Chaguanas, for a formal commissioning ceremony on Wednesday morning, where residents commended the construction of the pipeline.
Before its construction, residents said, they would have to tote buckets of water, owing to low water pressure and an unreliable supply. About 6.2 kilometres of pipeline was laid from Factory Road, Chaguanas, to St Mary’s Junction in Freeport, where construction was carried out from Sunday to Sunday. According to estimates from the acting director operations at WASA Steve Joseph, water access has shown much improvement over the last three years.
“About three years ago we had just about 26 per cent of the population getting water 24/7. Now we are up to about 42 per cent,” Joseph said during his speech at Wednesday’s ceremony. He added that about 73 per cent of the population got water five days a week. “So the drive continues.”
Junior Minister in the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, and the MP for the area Ramona Ramdial said the public should take note of the work the Government was doing, as opposed to listening to the “propaganda.” Asked later what she was referring to, Ramdial said in a time of much political activity and with the onset of new parties, alluding to the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), it was easy to lose sight of what the present government was doing for its people.
She said society tends to pay more attention to “scandal and bacchanal, which occurred on the political front. “While we listen to that, we also have to be cognisant and mindful of the good work that all government ministries are undertaking at this point in time,” he said. “We are in our midterm, and when you look around you there are lots of basic infrastructural works—roads, drainage, water, lights.
“A lot of MPs are doing a lot of good jobs...so amidst the formation of new political parties and old ones, and the Opposition getting at us, we have been doing our work on the ground.” Line minister Ganga Singh gave the feature address, and listed medium-term and long-term goals for improving water supplies, provided the Water Resources ministry got the appropriate funding.
In an interview afterward, Singh confirmed he was referring to the upcoming budget, and said because of the infrastructure development programme, “the money has to be shared. “We believe that by virtue of how far advanced we are engaged in projects with a view to providing that right to water and universal access throughout the country that we have, in a sense, a priority in the allocation (of funds),” he said.
He added that with the goal to provide water for all, and the immense undertaking of projects to fulfil this objective, his ministry should receive the appropriate funds from the upcoming budget on September 9. “Based on what I have seen in the public sector investment programme, there is need for significant improvement in the funding allocation to the water and waste water sector.”
Singh also addressed nationwide metering of WASA customers, saying it was a costly operation which would have to be done in phases. He added that the $400 million to $500 million price tag could snag such an undertaking. “You can have the best ideas in the world, but if you do not have the resources, then you cannot translate it into action.”
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