The Desalination Plant in Couva.

There was water in the taps of many residents and businesses between Central and South Trinidad up to mid-morning as the Desalination Company (Desalcott) carried out day one of its planned shut down for maintenance.

At least that was the case for communities with a regular supply of water.

The Couva/Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce (CPLCC) is hoping that when the seven days of maintenance at the desalination on the Point Lisas industrial estate end, that businesses and residents will receive a supply that is more consistent than what they previously had.

CPLCC chairman Ramchand Rajbal Maraj said some of the plants in Point Lisas were already at a disadvantage as they do not have the storage capacity that would allow them to operate without a pipe-borne supply for seven days.

As a result, these companies have to curtail some of their operations. As for other small businesses, he said they were without a proper water supply for months, making their predicament worse.

“I cannot fault WASA and Desalcott for the shutdown because servicing, maintenance and upgrade are of a necessity. However, I would like to believe the scheduled downtime would be adhered to and it would return promptly after the maintenance and upgrade,” Maraj said.

For months, residents of Balmain and Calcutta Settlement were agitating for a supply of water.

Councillor for Balmain/Calcutta #2 Arlene Ramesar said that leading up to Saturday, she received a lot of calls for water, especially as Hindus were preparing for Divali.

In Calcutta Settlement Road and Violet Drive in Freeport, residents were without pipe-borne water for eight days. A supply returned around 10.30 am on Sunday, but the water pressure was so low, many did not get to full their tanks.

“With the shutdown of the ‘desal’ plant, I must say I am really, really disturbed. I do not even want to think about what would be the outcome. I do agree, a schedule is good, but when you have a schedule for a supply, and you do not have a regular, consistent supply, what is left for one to wonder?”

Ramesar called on Minister of Public Utilities Marvin Gonzales to improve WASA’s service as residents are asked to pay for a supply to water that they hardly get.

“Are these citizens going to be reimbursed,” she said, adding that if residents are in arrears, they cannot get a truck-borne supply of water.

The Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) also provides a truck-borne water supply. Ramesar said the trucks sometimes require maintenance and financial releases from Central government are slow in reaching the CTTRC.

Daniel Plenty, Corporate Communications Manager at WASA, said Desalcott began its shutdown yesterday as planned.

He said customers should visit WASA’s website and social media pages for the temporary schedules for the communities affected by the shutdown.