More than 500,000 households in South and Central Trinidad will be impacted by a shortage of pipe-borne water when the Desalination plant goes down for 16 days in a planned shutdown next month.
Among the areas affected will be Caroni, St Helena, Charlieville, Chaguanas, Cunupia, Carapichaima, Couva, Claxton Bay, Marabella, Gasparillo, San Fernando, Cocoyea, Union Hall, La Romaine, Woodland, Palmiste, Phillipine, Rambert Village, South Oropouche, Fyzabad, Avocat, Siparia, Penal, San Francique, Rousillac, Aripero and La Brea.
During a press conference held at Desalcott in Point Lisas on Thursday, general manager of Desalcott John Thompson said the desalination plant will be shut down for maintenance.
"From the 30th of September we will be ramping down and we have extensive maintenance to do to ensure the reliability of the plant for next year's dry season. As usual, we will be doing extensive electrical work throughout the plant, infrared and ultrasonic surveys. We will also be doing a major job on storage tanks through which all the water flows before being sent to WASA," Thompson said.
WASA's Chief executive officer Dr Allan Poon King advised citizens to stock up on drinking water.
"Store what you can receive from WASA before and during. Our schedules will be amended and will be published on the WASA website and Facebook page and Twitter," Poon King said.
He said the hosepipe ban instituted by WASA in January 2019 continues in effect.
" That will be monitored and we encourage that if people see illegal use of water to report that as well," Poon King added.
Saying Desalcott provides 40 million gallons of water to WASA daily, Poon King said the planned shutdown will take place from September 30 to October 16. In order to mitigate the effects of the supply shortfall on its operations, Poon King said WASA will be increasing production and redistribution of water supplies from the Caroni and Navet Water Treatment Plant.
"Navet is operating at 50 per cent of its capacity and Caroni will be put at optimum level as well to ensure we can supply and meet the schedules," Poon King said.
He added that there will also be the implementation of temporary supply schedules, increased water trucking capacity and an increase in supplies to schools, health institutions and homes.
In the meantime, Poon King said citizens must eliminate wasteful practices by repairing leaks and overflowing water tanks at homes and at businesses.
He also urged people to pay their water bills saying WASA will continue an aggressive disconnection drive.
With Tropical Storm Karen, the reservoirs have benefitted.
"In terms of volumes, Arna which supports the Caroni plant rose .5 feet equivalent to 250 million gallons of water, Hollis rose by three feet and Navet rose by one foot, equivalent to 100 million gallons of water," Poon King added.
He said WASA has experienced deficits in rainfall at all reservoirs.
"For the rest of the year we will look at Meteorological Service projections and match our production to that," he added.
Reporter: Radhica De Silva