WASA CEO Allan Poon King, left, and Desalcott general manager John Thompson share an elbow greeting at yesterday’s news conference at Desalcott in Point Lisas, Couva.

“Please maintain the existing water schedules, even though the desalination plant is shut down this week…”

That is the appeal being made by the Couva-Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce to the Water and Sewerage Authority, as Desalcott’s Point Lisas plant stops operations for the next seven days to undertake routine maintenance.

On the first day of the shutdown, Chamber president, Ramchand Rajbal-Maraj, said he was surprised that he had water at his Couva residence following days of a trickling flow.

Underscoring the necessity of the shutdown to facilitate maintenance works, the Chamber president made a special plea for small businesses in the area.

Ramchand Rajbal-Maraj, president of the Couva-Point Lisas Chamber of Commerce. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

“The business community in Point Lisas, especially the small businesses, would be adversely affected because during normal circumstances, WASA has fallen short with respect to pipe-borne water,” he noted.  

Rajbal Maraj said the residents of California in particular, had been without a supply for the past three months. 

“Far too many times in the past the customers have been betrayed by WASA and continue to be so.  We would like to see WASA run more effectively and efficiently so that the people won’t have problem to pay their bills,” he said.

Rajbal-Maraj expressed hope that when supplies returned, the water would not be discoloured and require days to settle before it can be used.

However, he complimented WASA and Desalcott for giving advance warning to the community about the shutdown, so people could store water.

“Consumers could hardly do without water for two days, much less a week,” he pointed out.

Arlene Ramesar-Solomon, local government representative for Balmain / Calcutta on the Couva-Tabaquite-Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC). (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Meanwhile, Arlene Ramesar-Solomon, the local government representative for Balmain / Calcutta on the Couva-Tabaquite-Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC), said supplies have been erratic in the Calcutta area.

She said WASA short-changed her burgesses over the Divali weekend.

“Despite pleas for a supply water was cut since last Wednesday,” she told Guardian Media.

WASA had issued a release stating that affected consumers were expected to get a supply by Sunday 15 November 2020.  Ramesar-Solomon revealed that water did return after 10 pm on Sunday, but the pressure was not high enough to reach into consumers’ storage tanks.

The Regional Corporation does have a water-trucking programme in place, but Solomon Ramesar told us this has been operational either.

“Many trucks are down because they are in need of repairs and funding is not available to make that happen,” she said.