WASA wants to construct desalination plant in Tobago

The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) wants to establish a desalination plant in southwest Tobago to help alleviate residents’ water woes.

This was announced by THA Chief Secretary Orville London at the weekly post Executive Council media briefing on Thursday.

London said he met with WASA chairman Gerard and WASA Tobago Manager Raffie David on November 27 to discuss the utility’s Tobago water plan for 2016. Also at the meeting, held at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall, was a team from the Division of Infrastructure and Public Utilities led by the Secretary, Councillor Gary Melville.

The Chief Secretary said WASA discussed the issue, which has been “on the drawing board” for nearly ten years. He added that he would speak to the line minister to determine whether these plans will be put into action.

“When the projection was made,” London stated, “it was noted that in a dry season the demand peaks at certain periods when you have a lot of activities and a lot of people in Tobago, [and] we are going to be significantly short of water, especially in southwest Tobago.”

He added: “Even in the commissioning of wells we are not going to get that level of predictability and therefore the introduction of a desalination plant is another issue we would have discussed and it is something that we support.

“This is not going to be any capital outlay for us in the Assembly or at the Central Government (level) but we have to buy the water; the way in which it operates is that the company comes in, puts down the plant and WASA would have to buy the water and distribute it to the people of Tobago.”

He said a number of wells have been drilled and “what WASA indicated to me is that the commissioning of those wells would bring 4 million gallons daily (mgd) into the system”. This, London said is a priority project, which will cost $90 million. He appealed to Tobagonians to conserve water.

The Chief Secretary said desilting the Hillsborough Dam alone won’t solve all of Tobago’s water woes. He said these projects, in conjunction with Tobago’s responsible use of water, will go some way in bringing relief to the island.

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