Rain has been the most water Fourth Street, Peytonville, Carapo residents have seen in three weeks, and some of them have resorted to using it to do their daily chores including cooking.
On Tuesday the residents protested not having had a regular water supply in weeks.
The small group shouted, “We want water!”
Ricardo Joefield said water often comes twice a week and the residents look forward to those days. But as quickly as it comes, it also quickly goes. Joefield said it stays for about four hours, but the water pressure is so low it does not fill many tanks.
He said at one point he had to go to Malabar – about 5.2 kilometres away from Carapo – to get water to do his chores and operate his food vending business. Joefield is known as the souse man from Valencia.
He said he visited the Water and Sewerage Authority’s (WASA) Arima customer service centre and told them that his bill is up to date. He lamented the three-day promised wait for a truck-borne supply of water.
The residents called on Public Utilities Minister Marvin Gonzales and the Prime Minister to address the issue.
Gonzales said to Newsday, in a phone interview, he plans to meet D’Abadie/O’Meara MP Lisa Morris-Julian and WASA officials to address the matter.
He said Morris-Julian wrote to him about some areas in her constituency which have been challenged for a water supply, and Carapo was one of the areas mentioned. He told her as soon as he returns from this week’s cabinet retreat in Tobago, he will visit the constituency with her.
Gonzales said a lot of the communities have specific challenges which need to be responded to differently.
“A lot of the times, I can tell you, it is a water-management problem. At the level of some of the districts are area managers who are not managing the distribution of the water equitably.”
Gonzales said WASA’s system was still very manual and one had to lock off some areas in order to divert the water to communities based on their water scheduling.
At a recent press conference, WASA’s management said a reliable supply of water is at the mercy of the weather, and pipeline and mechanical infrastructure aged beyond the prescribed lifetime.
Its acting CEO Sherland Sheppard said then, the authority had begun several water infrastructure development projects.
Gonzales said there are three areas he plans to visit after returning from the cabinet retreat. They are Diego Martin, Cumuto/Manzanilla and Sangre Grande where he will meet with the respective MPs.
He said there were some communities at the extremities of WASA’s main water producing plants.
“Any disruptions on the plants, those communities will be the first to be hit by some of the disruptions.”
Gonzales said to solve the problem, sources of water closer to those communities had to be identified so that those communities would not have to rely on some of the bigger producing plants.
Gonzales said he has completed his strategic plan to address the country’s water woes and will seek an audience with Dr Rowley to discuss it.
He hopes to roll out this plan in the coming weeks to rehabilitate WASA’s infrastructure and to add 80 million gallons of water to the grid.
Morris-Julian told Newsday she and Gonzales have been liaising for the past weeks about the issues throughout D'Abadie/O'Meara. She said while it was unfortunate that the residents felt the need to protest, they could always call or WhatsApp her.
She said WASA officials for that area work very hard, and every time she calls them they respond in 24 hours or less.