Senator The Honorable Robert Le Hunte
Minister of Public Utilities
I am angry! Today is 14 days since we have had little more than a trickle of water in our area, Aberdeen Park, East Edinburgh Gardens, Chaguanas. Many of our tanks have not filled and are now empty. Repeated calls to WASA's Call Centre serve only to frustrate us callers, who have to wait in a queue, on average ten-15 minutes before being able to speak to a Customer Service Representative. While without exception, all of these CSRs have been pleasant and polite, during the first few days our calls were treated as though it was the first report of the problem. Subsequently and up to yesterday we have been given the following robotic response, “The district engineer for the area says the supply is on but there is a low-pressure issue in the area.”
This is not a new problem. For months, as far back as October last year, many of us have had to use our water pumps for an adequate supply of water to enable us to do basic things like bathe, wash dishes and do laundry. For more than ten years, we have learned not to expect a water supply on a weekend, as with the increased usage, the pressure is not high enough to reach our area. With each successive construction project, the problem is exacerbated, which says proper consideration regarding infrastructure is inadequate at best.
We are all taxpayers, legal owners and/or occupants of the premises which we call home. We are not squatters, neither are our water connections illegal. We are law-abiding citizens, doing what is right, paying our water rates, yet unable to receive the service we are paying for. We are “grateful” for the trickle that we are receiving daily which by rationing, allows us to perform the most basic hygienic tasks so that we can report to work and school. Cooking for a lot of us is out of the question.
This past weekend many of us had to call upon the generosity of family so that we could get laundry done and have a proper bath, for some of us, the first in almost two weeks. Sadly, today some of us will be paying private contractors $700 to have a truck-borne supply of water delivered. Why? Because to date, we have received no response to the request we made from WASA for a truck-borne supply since Tuesday/Wednesday last week. We're told it takes two-three working days to process this request. I have a problem understanding what the process entails though, as you are only given a “Request #” after you are confirmed to be a legitimate WASA customer. The irony is that these contractors are getting their trucks filled at a WASA facility.
We the citizens of T&T continue to enable the gross inefficiency at WASA. We continue at our expense, to install tanks and pumps, with the required plumbing. Instead of having a kitchen garden or an aesthetically pleasing backyard, unsightly, but necessary water tanks occupy the space. We pay the increased electricity bill associated with the use of our water pumps. We procure barrels, buckets, bottles and other miscellaneous receptacles all to ensure that we have an adequate supply of water. When you shut down your Point Lisas Plant for ten days for “Scheduled Maintenance”, and put us on a schedule that is as bogus as your respect for us, your customers, we don't complain. We endure. We neither ask for nor do we receive rebates for undelivered service. Your continued incompetence is our fault. This, WASA, is unacceptable!
While we are all cognisant of the fact that we are in the dry season and are prepared to do our part, making the necessary sacrifices to do so, please provide us with a reliable supply of water, which we are paying for. Address the low-pressure situation. It is not enough to respond to us with platitudes, and expect that we should be satisfied. Please stop holding us hostage.
WASA, the time has come to stop being an embarrassment to us and a laughing stock to the rest of the world. Get your act together.