34% receive 24/7 water supply


In this file photo, WASA workers repair a leaking line at High Street, San Fernando. – AYANNA KINSALE

THE Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) says more than one-third of the country has received a constant supply of water on average over the last six months, and not 16 per cent, as conveyed at the Joint Select Committee (JSC) Land and Physical Infrastructure Meeting, held on Thursday.

In a statement issued on Saturday, WASA clarified that the figure (16 per cent) provided in response to a question at the meeting, reflected February only. The authority apologised to the JSC and the public for the “unfortunate misrepresentation.”

WASA operations director Shaira Ali was responding to Senator Anil Roberts, who asked what percentage of the population had been receiving a “24/7” supply of pipe-borne water.

In WASA’s subsequent statement, it wrote, “In fact, it is important to note that the service level recorded in February 2022 was an anomaly, because an average of the previous six months confirm that 34 per cent of the population received a 24/7 pipe borne water supply.”

WASA said the service level recorded for February 2022 was abnormally low “due to a combination of several extenuating factors that occurred during the month,” including the nationwide power outage on February 15.

“Primary amongst these factors was the island-wide power failure…which disrupted operations at the majority of the Authority’s treatment facilities.

“In addition, February also saw the implementation of amended water supply schedules, in keeping with the Authority’s 2022 Dry Season Water Supply Management Plan.

“The combination of these factors significantly impacted the Authority’s ability to maintain its normal levels of service for February 2022, particularly the 24/7 level of service.”

WASA’s “ultimate goal” it said it to provide all customers with a 24/7 supply. However, it added, at present, on average 30 per cent of customers receive a level of service between 24/4 and 24/6. On average, it said, 64 per cent of customers receive “a 24/4 or better water supply.

“The Authority recognizes its obligation to improve the level of service, particularly to the other 36 per cent of customers and has been taking meaningful steps to address this issue through various infrastructural development projects, over the short, medium and long term.

Nearly 100,000 customers have experienced an improvement in their water supply over the last six months, WASA said, largely in light of the completion of some 22 projects under the Community Water Improvement Programme.

“The Authority assures customers that it remains committed to implementing additional strategies and plans, to bring about further improvements to the water service delivered to its customers throughout Trinidad and Tobago,” it said.

“The Authority wishes to apologise to the Joint Select Committee and the public for the unfortunate misrepresentation made regarding 16 per cent of the population getting a 24/7 water supply.

“The Director of Operations should have explained that this was unique to February 2022 and not an accurate reflection of the current levels of service in Trinidad and Tobago. Consequently, the Authority will be submitting a formal report to the (JSC) on the matter.”

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