Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Customers must wait 24 hours more


RUPTURED: The ruptured 48-inch WASA water main. —Photos courtesy WASA

Mark Fraser

About 400,000 customers in 23 communities will have to wait about 24 more hours for a fully restored water supply.

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) announced yesterday repairs on the ruptured 48-inch steel Caroni North Trunk Main were to have been completed by midnight last night. The main is located along the west bound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in the vicinity of Trincity Mall.

The main was ruptured on Wednesday during piling work by contractor Jusamco who was hired by the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to reconstruct and widen the Arouca River Bridge which forms part of the overall Churchill Roosevelt Highway Expansion Project.

WASA’s Corporate Communications Manager Ellen Lewis had said on Wednesday that the rupture constituted a “crisis”.

Among the affected areas are sections of Piarco, St Augustine, Curepe, Champs Fleurs, Mt D’or, Farm Road, St Joseph, Petit Bourg, Valsayn South, Bamboo and Mt Hope Hospital. Additional communities include Aranjuez, San Juan, El Socorro, Santa Cruz, Morvant, Barataria, Laventille, Beetham Gardens, Gonzales, Belmont, Gonzales, Port of Spain, Cascade, Cocorite and Western Main Road, St James.

Via a telephone interview yesterday, Ramona Ramdial, Minister in the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said WASA was “hoping to restore water to 400,000 households by last night.” She added however that if WASA failed to meet its schedule there was a contingency plan in place to “supply truck borne water to those who needed it most”.

Ramdial said Trincity was among the communities that requested a truck borne supply of water. Lewis yesterday confirmed that “a limited truck-borne water service was available with priority being given to health institutions, special homes and schools.”

Asked for an update on the water situation, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said: “I have not gotten any negative reports. I would assume it’s working at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex at Mt Hope. They would have told us directly if there was a problem. I got a report from Port of Spain General Hospital, everything is good.”

Meanwhile, citizens who have been experiencing water woes have resorted to using water from their tanks, buckets, containers and barrels. The lack of water has affected cooking, cleaning, showering and laundry operations in households. In some eastern rural areas, people said they were making the trek to the Valencia River for daily baths while some people have complained about the inconvenience of bucket baths over showers. Many have resorted to using baby wipes.

A dread-locked Morvant taxi driver said: “Things got so bad, I had to go and buy huge bottles of water. I had to ensure my children got a bath with expensive water.” Random checks with citizens at City Gate, South Quay, Port of Spain revealed they were fed up with the water problem. Another young woman who had to attend a funeral said: “I had to go by a friend in San Juan to take a proper bath because I am fed up of bucket baths.”

Even those people who have an elaborate back up water supply are nervously awaiting the return of water in the taps.

There was a tad bit of rejoicing when water came for about an hour in Morvant on Wednesday evening.