After some 22 months of construction, residents of Bon Accord, Salmon Grove, Buccoo and environs can now boast a new southwest Tobago wastewater facility.
The project, which began in September 2017, was funded through and Inter-American Development Bank loan at a cost of some TT$125 million.
It will address the long-standing problem of wastewater, particularly in the Bon Accord and Salon Grove catchments, being discharged directly into the coastal waters of southwest Tobago.
The contractors for the project were Amcoweld Engineering Services Ltd, Trinidad Contractors Ltd and LMCS Ltd.
Denise Lee-Sing Perreira, director, programme and change management, Water & Sewerage Authority (WASA) said some 13,000 residents are expected to benefit from the project.
“The project has impacted positively in Crown Point, Pigeon Point, Golden Grove and Buccoo,” she said in an overview on Monday at the commissioning of the project at the Canaan/Bon Accord multipurpose facility.
Lee-Sing added due to the environmentally sensitive method adopted for wastewater management, the natural fauna in Salmon Grove, Bon Accord and surrounding communities has improved significantly.
Public Utilities Minister Fitzgerald Hinds, who delivered the feature address, said some 2,700 people will benefit from reduced pathogens and contaminations in their water supply.
“At the same time, we anticipate that about 10,000 customers to the wastewater system, in this part of the island, would directly benefit,” he said
“This means that 10,000 consumers will have their wastewater managed in an environmentally and sound manner.”
Hinds, who also toured the 68-year-old Hillsborough Reservoir, said the facility will have major implications for the quantity and reliability of water supply for over 15,000 Tobago consumers.
However, he revealed it had lost 25 per cent of its containment capacity owing to a build-up of silt.
“Preparatory work is about 87 per cent complete and when that is actually complete then the actual desilting will begin.
“That will bring that reservoir back to full containment capacity to serve the people of TT.”
He said the desilting of the reservoir is expected to cost some TT$64 million.
The minister said production wells are also being drilled and developed at Les Coteaux, Signal Hill, Carnbee, Calder Hall, Mary’s Hill, Roxborough at a cost of $15 million.
Hinds said he read a report recently which highlighted a survey on the water situation in Tobago.
“I am happy to tell you that the experts found that the portents for the future are not so dull. In other words, there is sufficient ground water sources in Tobago that can satisfy the needs and the projected and expected needs of the people of Tobago for the foreseeable future.
“That involves the drilling and improvement of existing wells and this project is designed to achieve that.”
In his address, Hinds urged Tobagonians to conserve water.
“I am duty-bound to say that because the statistics also show that we consume far more water per capita than even other countries in the region and, certainly, in the developed world.
“We have our own culture, our own way. But I urge you to make good use of these facilities, conserve water because it is proving to be a challenge for mankind around the world.”
PNM Tobago West candidate Shamfa Cudjoe, Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis and commissioner William Mc Kay, deputising for chairman, WASA Board of Commissioners Romney Thomas, also spoke.