The Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA’s) chief executive officer Alan Poon King says the authority has a 30 million gallon deficit and with April’s actual rainfall way below the long term average, its ability to produce the water that the nation needs has been severely impacted.
Speaking at a handover ceremony of face masks from the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) to WASA, Poon King said the average rainfall expected for May is also predicted to be below normal.
He said 60 per cent of the authority’s supply comes from surface water. He said the authority’s current production level is between 210 to 215 millions gallons of water per day while their capacity is 240 million gallons.
“We were expecting it to be below normal and it has in fact gone below-below normal and we just have a couple of days left in the month. We are looking towards May where we also have a projection for below normal rainfall and that would put us in a position where the volumes we would have in May would not be quite as we would like,” Poon King said.
Poon King said projections for May show a slightly higher level of rainfall than April and with the rainy season around the corner, he is hopeful reservoirs will soon be replenished.
But Poon King is warning the public not to breach the water restrictions as he said WASA’s estate police are continuing their patrols throughout the country.
“We need to conserve water as a population, washing of cars, watering of lawns- grass does not die, the grass turns brown and in the rainy season it will recover- if you need water your plants please use a watering can and minimise the use, when you use water for frivolous reasons you deprive either your neighbour or your neighbouring community,” he said.
With a lot of focus being placed on agriculture and this country’s ability or lack thereof to produce its own food, Poon King said WASA has granted abstraction licenses to farmers whose pumps were seized in 2019 for illegally using water from rivers and springs to water their crops.
He said so far for 2020, no pumps have been seized from any farmer.
Secretary of the Aranguez Farmers Association, Bharat Rampersad told Guardian Media yesterday that farmers had been advised to apply for the licenses. He said while a number of them were given permission, some are yet to get a response to their applications.
He said the farmers who have been approved are being sent a monthly bill of between $120 to $150. But, he said because the water channels in Aranguez are constantly clogged, those same farmers are not able to abstract a regular supply.
Rampersad said WASA should be responsible for desilting those channels if it is collecting revenue from their use.
Meanwhile, speaking before the handover of the face masks, UTT president Professor Prakash Persad said the masks were sewn by students of the university’s fashion programme.
He praised their civic-mindedness as he said they produced the masks free of charge, using their personal sewing machines.