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WASA calls on citizens to change water use habits

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is calling on citizens to change their water use habits to help conserve water as the country heads into the 2013 dry season and an inevitable ten-day shutdown of the Point Lisas Desalination Plant to facilitate maintenance work.

WASA's head of corporate communications Ellen Lewis yesterday said the sustaining of the country's water supplies is not the sole responsibility of WASA but a joint responsibility of all customers.

"Customers are therefore given notice to begin changing their water use habits towards a practice of conservation and water use efficiency. There is also a need for customers to address the problem of household leaks and overflowing storage tanks. And where customers do not have a proper system of storage in place, one should be established," she said.

Lewis also provided the position at the major reservoirs, which at this time is a healthy one.

"As of today (December 27), nearing the end of the rainy season, storage levels at all of the Authority's impounding reservoirs, namely Arena, Hollis, Navet and Hillsborough, Tobago, are in line with long-term averages.

"Notwithstanding the healthy position of the country's reservoirs entering the dry season, the utility's overall supply situation in Trinidad will be greatly impacted by the shutdown of the Desalination Plant over the period January 15-24, 2013. This would result in a daily loss of 30mgd (million gallons per day) during the period."

Lewis said WASA generally experiences a daily shortfall of 40mgd at the peak of the dry season, from an overall estimated available supply of 223mgd.

Contacted for a comment on how the shutdown would affect WASA's biggest customers at Point Lisas Industrial Estate, Minister of Water Resources Ganga Singh referred the Express back to WASA.

Lewis said Point Lisas Industrial Estate will not be affected by the shutdown of the desal plant since they will be put on a schedule and also have storage capacity.

"They have what is called backed-up storage for emergencies and they will be put on a schedule effective the 15th of January. So their operations will not be affected," she said.

This schedule will also apply to regular WASA customers who they have been engaging from the start.

President of the Sheep and Goat Farmers Association Sherazz Khan said the shortfall in the water supply during the ten days will affect farmers economically, mainly because they will have to purchase water for their animals since they can't prepare for the use of water as it relates to the care of the animals.

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