Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ganga challenges Rowley to debate

...hails water supply successes

QUALITY CONTROL: Kathleen Makeda Washington of the Guanapo Community and Environment Development Organisation demonstrates and alkalinity test as Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh looks on during yesterday’s opening of the Integrated Water Resources Management Research Symposium at UWI St Augustine. —Photo: CURTIS CHASE

MINISTER of the Environment and Water Resources Ganga Singh is inviting Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley to engage in a water debate.

Singh said he was confident about providing about “73 per cent of the country with water by the end of the calendar year.”

Singh said he had also filed his nomination papers to contest the Chaguanas West seat which is currently held by Interim Leader of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP), corruption-accused Jack Warner.

Singh made these statements yesterday while delivering the feature address at the Integrated Water Resources Management Research Symposium at the University of the West Indies Inn and Conference Centre, St Augustine Campus.

Its theme was “Promoting Integration Through Meaningful Collaboration”. It ends today.

Among those who also addressed the stakeholders were Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) chief executive officer Gerard Yorke; head, Water Resources Agency, WASA, Regional Coordinator Global Water Partnership-Caribbean Patricia Shako, and deputy general manager WASA Keith Meade. Among those present were Minister in the Ministry Ramona Ramdial and CEO of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management Dr Stephen Ramroop.

Singh said: “Dr Rowley has been sniping at the achievements of WASA over the five-year period. ‘Tis the season for political snipers. I want to bring him or his shadow minister to a debate over water resources and sanitation. I want to invite him to a debate issues, challenges and solutions to potable water and wastewater sustainability. I am fed up of his sniping from behind. I want him to come in the open and have a debate that is transparent. It should be the subject of public scrutiny.”

Asked about provision of an adequate water supply, Singh said: “Yorke said about ‘85 per cent.' I am saying about 73 per cent and by the end of the calendar year it would be 80 per cent.” It went from a movement of 18 per cent after eight years of PNM administration.”

Singh said over $1.9 billion was spent on about 1400 projects.

He said: “As of June, we can itemise each project including the capitalised costs and the beneficiaries. WASA will continue the integrated approach to water management. The new people have university degrees.”

Expounding upon Tobago water projects, Singh said: “It is a reuse water project. T&T was the first country in the Caribbean and hemisphere to do bedrock drilling. We found it there in the late 1990s. From 2002 to 2010, there was an abeyance. We did satellite imaging (Lennox Petroleum) of the earth's surface and crust.”

Singh added: “We have put a well in the Crowne Point area with 500 000 gallons per day. It would relieve the perennial problem of lack of water especially during the high tourism season and the vacation onto Christmas. We have put another well that brings 1.3 million gallons of water in the system. Kenya is the other country that has done it.”

Moving to the Beetham Wastewater Project, Singh said: “You have 24 million gallons of clearwater entering the stream and going to sea. Singaporean experts have indicated T&T can use 10 to 14 million gallons per day. We can only use it for industrial purposes. It takes three tonnes of processed water to make a tonne of methanol or urea. It is a project being managed by NGC.

Singh added: “We are building Mamoral Dam. We are assisting Mt St Benedict for a proper effective and clean supply of water and expanding it to the hostel and PAX guest house. We have surface, underground and “Holy Water.”


Singh, Ramdial

gear up for elections

Asked if he had filed his nomination papers, Singh said: “I have submitted them for the Chaguanas West seat. and its current MP is Jack Warner. I have been working the area for over a year. I am connected to the community. They have asked me to run. I am awaiting screening. I am confident based on the work I have done in the community, I will have the support of the people.”

Couva North MP Ramdial added: “I have also filed. I am very confident we (PP) have done everything right since 2010. I think the screening committee should not have a problem in selecting me for the second term.”