RADHICA DE SILVA
With sporadic protests for water escalating in several parts of the country, Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein has intervened.
Following a meeting on Monday, Hosein approved the use of $1 million from unspent balances for the 14 regional and municipal corporations to assist with water trucking.
His approval came days after a Joint Select Committee meeting last week showed some 260,000 families were affected by an ongoing water crisis.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, Raymond Seepaul, disclosed that the total average truck borne supply is 63,800 gallons per day at all 14 corporations. However, he said the annual demand was 25.5 million gallons.
Roberts said there was a funding issue at many corporations and in some cases, water tenders were dysfunctional, and this was hampering water truck distribution.
Senator Saddam Hosein questioned how many water tenders were available in all 14 corporations. Seepaul revealed that there were 23 water tenders in the 14 corporations, and some were dysfunctional.
In a statement yesterday, Hosein said monies will be made available to assist with these issues.
He said under Section 112 (2) of the Municipal Corporations Act, Chapter 25:04, he directed that the Corporations use $1 million in unspent balances for water trucking.
He said on Monday he hosted a meeting with Seepaul, Permanent Secretary Desdra Bascombe, all Mayors, Chairmen and all Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to discuss the issue.
The $1 million will assist in providing critical service upgrades and repairs to water tenders and water trucking to assist with the efficient provision of water across all municipalities, Hosein said.
“With the approval to use up to 1 million dollars, each Corporation will be better able to help those in need in their regions, boroughs and cities.”
Saying water is critical, Hosein said each citizen must have access to potable water, not just at Christmas time, but all year round.
“We must also remember that we are amid a global pandemic and having clean water is of paramount importance to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” he said, noting the Ministry will be working closely with the Municipal Corporations to ensure that the necessary procedures are followed and requests for utilization of unspent balances are urgently processed.
Over the past few weeks, several areas in South and Central Trinidad have been without pipe-borne water.