More water for Tobago

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) is working on a three-point plan to solve the water woes facing Tobago.

An executive team from the utility, headed by its acting CEO Dion Abdul, met with Chief Secretary Orville London and other representatives of the Tobago House of Assembly on Thursday (April 7) at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall to update the THA on WASA’s initiatives.

After the hour-long meeting, London said although the situation remains challenging, there has been significant improvement.

“The information that we have got from the CEO and his team gives me a certain degree of confidence that over the next many months the situation would improve further but as they say, the statistics should speak for themselves,” he added.

WASA’s acting CEO Dion Abdul said WASA looked at its available water resources to determine how best it can be shared.

He said Phase One of the programme was to activate new wells at Mary’s Hill and Calder Hall. This has allowed WASA to pump an additional 600,000 gallons of water per day into the system. A third well at Carnbee will come into production shortly.

Abdul said Phase Two includes drilling and equipping new wells, which will start soon.

“This phase will result in an additional four MGD (million gallons per day) of water being pumped into the distribution system. We try to balance the distribution of the water going into the dry season,” Abdul stressed.

He said WASA is also looking at desalination as a medium term solution. WASA has issued an Expression of Interest (EOI) for a desalination plant at the Cove Eco-Industrial and Business Park (CEIBP), and the deadline for EOI submissions is May 12.

“So we have the wells programme on its way and we also have the Desal programme on its way,” Abdul stressed.

These initiatives, he said, together with the water trucking service, are currently satisfying the island’s water needs.

Abdul said the third aspect of the programme is desilting the Hillsborough Dam, which is now in the planning stages.

Another project being planned is supplying pipe borne water to the village of Hermitage in east Tobago for the first time. Councillor Gary Melville, Secretary of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (DIPU), assured those residents that the project is a priority.

He said the Division is awaiting the release of funds for the six-month project from the Division of Finance and Enterprise Development (DFED) for transmission to WASA..

London also addressed farmers’ concerns about water availability for their crops due to the current water restrictions.  The Chief Secretary said WASA has agreed to meet with the Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment (DAMME) and the farmers to discussion suitable solutions to the issue.

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