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Tuesday 22 October 2019
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$230m allocated for water upgrade

Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities centre, is flanked by Alan Poon-King Ag CEO, Wasa left, and Kenneth Kerr, climatologist, TT Met Service.
Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities centre, is flanked by Alan Poon-King Ag CEO, Wasa left, and Kenneth Kerr, climatologist, TT Met Service.

Cabinet has approved some $225 million for the Ministry of Public Utilities to to improve the water supply to citizens.

With an additional $5 million from the last PSIP, there is actually $230 million for the programme.

This was divulged by Robert Le Hunte, Minister of Public Utilities, at the ministry in St Clair yesterday.

He said: “The standard set by the RIC is for each person to get water three to four times a week but about 35 per cent are below that standard.

"To fix this problem requires a multi-faceted approach. We have to deal with some water-production issues, the fixing of leaks, storage issues, and additional focus on conservation. If we do all of these things together we will increase the amount of supply.”

Le Hunte said $30 will be spent on well rehabilitation, $70 million on drilling new wells, $70 million for Tobago, $44 million in pipe replacement and $15 million for the Paramin/Maraval area.

“Over the past six months," he said, "in an attempt to increase groundwater production, Wasa had done rehabilitation work on some 55 wells. And going forward we are going to rehabilitate a further 20 wells. When we are finished that particular work, we expect that will cost $30 million, and it will increase the production of water by four million gallons of water. These rehabilitated wells are in Las Lomas, Chatham, Granville, Sangre Grande, Tucker Valley, Goodwood and Arima.

“We are also looking at drilling some new wells. There are some aquifers that could hold more water and we are going on an extensive drilling programme targeting about 22 new wells in Arima, Aripo, Moka, Piarco, Matura, Sangre Grande, Las Lomas, Chatham, to name a few, increasing water production by at least 7.2 million gallons of water a day, thus increasing groundwater supply.”

Le Hunte said WASA was also starting an extensive drilling programme in Tobago and within the next 18 months, and together with the dredging of the Hillsborough dam, it will result in self-sufficiency on the island. By the end of next year, he said all of Tobago should have water at least 24/4, but very close to 24/7.

In the Paramin and Maraval area, he said, there is a need to increase storage and pumps to get the water up those hills.

“We have put a special plan in place centred around pipes going to Paramin, storage capacity, drilling of some more wells in the Moka area to supply that Maraval/Paramin area to take them up to 24/4 by the end of this period.”

In addition, there are pipes that need changing or fixing. Le Hunte said some 23 km of pipe throughout TT inGuapo, Point Fortin, Arima, St Augustine, San Fernando and Fyzabad will be attended to.

Earlier, Le Hunte saidthe 2019 dry period had been the harshest in the last 16 years and the third harshest in the last 74 years. Not much rainfall is expected between June and August, so coming out of that dry period, “We are starting from a position where our rivers are low and our dams are not at the level where we would like them to be. In the case of Hollis, we are 40 per cent below the long-term average; Caroni: 32 per cent; Navet: 52 per cent; Tobago: 24 per cent.

"The bottom line is, we are entering the wet season where the dams are not up to capacity. So we will not be going out there and immediately changing the schedules.”

He said perhaps by Augustm depending on the rainfall, the schedule can be changed.

Alan Poon-King acting CEO of WASA, called for the continued conservation of water.Kenneth Kerr, climatologist at the Meteorological Service, is urging people to use the Met Office forecast for ample preparation for the rainy season..

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