Citizens need to do their part to conserve water during the dry season as every drop counts. That’s the advice from Government officials for what is expected to be a harsh season.
Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte admitted there are several shortcomings on the part of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) but said that does not absolve citizens from doing their part to conserve water.
“Over the next few months, every one of us will have to be our brother’s keeper in relation to how we monitor, manage and use our water resources,” he said.
However, Le Hunte said citizens should not be worried.
“We have been here before, we’ve done this before with WASA in this country and we have learn—WASA has learnt in previous times. They have a plan in place to deal with it,” he said.
During this dry season, Trinidad is expected to receive 29 mm or 10 per cent less rainfall than in previous years, whileTobago is expected to experience 56 mm or 24 per cent less rainfall.
WASA’s records indicate that the county’s demand for water typically increases by 16 million imperial gallons during the dry season. Compounding the issue, WASA estimates that almost 50 per cent of the nation’s water supply is lost through surface and sub-surface leaks from ageing infrastructure.
While 59 per cent of the country’s water is supplied by surface water sources such as reservoirs and rivers which are fed by rainfall and rivers, they are especially susceptible to evaporation during the dry season. According to WASA, water lost by evaporation amounts to 190 million gallons for the entire dry season or 1.3 million imperial gallons per day, which is enough to meet the needs of 593,000 households.
Adding to this, Le Hunte said, citizens use between 83 gallons to 95 gallons of water a day—twice as much as the 44 gallons referenced by the United Nations as the international standard.
“The fact that each of us uses double the recommended amount of water means that if we were to actually keep to the international standard, we could supply water to Trinidad and Tobago twice over,” he said.
Le Hunte said in preparation for the season, WASA is repairing 28 wells hich is expected to add 5 million gallons to the existing system. It is also putting measures in place to rehabilitate another ten wells, which would add a further 1.5 million gallons. WASA is drilling two additional wells which they anticipate will contribute 0.5 million gallons a day. One is being dug in Signal Hill, Tobago and the other in Arouca. They are expected to be completed in April.
Le Hunte also said Desalcott has been re-tooling and upgrading its plant to maintain production reliability during the dry season. WASA has also undertaken a repair programme to fix some 2,000 leaks in their aged infrastructure, the majority of which are underground. They will also be engaging in a public awareness campaign.