Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) CEO Dr Ellis Burris yesterday said the country was in a unique position concerning water and water management.
At the inaugural river conference hosted by WASA’s Adopt a River implementation unit at the Hilton Trinidad, Burris said global indicators suggested TT was a water-rich nation, but the statistic did not find agreement with the fact that it was also a highly water-stressed nation.
He said the World Resources Institute did an aqueduct project which evaluated, mapped and scored water risks in 100 river basins ranked by area and population. The project, he said, measured baseline water stress levels and assigned a value ranging between zero to five – the higher the score, the higher the risk.
“Baseline stress levels serve as an indicator of the amount of water extracted every year from rivers, streams and shallow aquifers for domestic and industrial use. Scores above four indicate that more than 80 per cent of water available is extracted annually. TT scored five.”
He said WASA had embarked on an initiative to bring awareness to local watershed issues and to facilitate the participation of public- and private-sector entities, in projects geared towards the improvement in the health of rivers and their watersheds.
“The programme was constituted on January 9, with a clear mandate to engage relevant stakeholders in activities designed to improve the health of all watersheds in TT. Historically, the quality of our potable water has been quite good. However, increasing levels of pollution stemming from anthropogenic activities continue to compromise this quality, with the resultant effect being increased treatment costs and a decrease in volume.”