Montique Lands, Williamsville residents are contemplating legal action against the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) for leaving their taps dry for the past six weeks.
While one family has spent over $2,500 to fill their water tanks, another is rationing water to the point where the plants in the kitchen garden are all dead.
“Water trucks are in there almost every other day. I spent $2,500 in water in the last month and a half. I requested water twice from WASA and got it once. WASA has this ridiculous policy where their water truck can only supply 800 gallons per home,” Vishal Singh told Guardian Media yesterday. It is not even enough to fill one of his four 1,000 gallon tanks.
Singh said WASA placed the community on a schedule for a pipe-borne water supply on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays for the past few years. However, there was only one day in the past six weeks that there was a drip in their pipes, which was not enough to reach in their tanks.
Like other residents, Singh said he has been calling WASA’s Customer Service Centre frequently, waiting between 45 minutes to an hour to learn that a solution was not near. According to Singh, the call centre assistants said the Piparo Booster Stations was down in the first week. In the second week, there was a busted 26-inch main in Tabaquite awaiting repair. For the next two weeks, there was a leak in Poonah Road followied by adverse weather and fallen trees that affected the electrical supply to the booster station.
Last week, a technical officer at WASA advised that a water supply would be available on Saturday and Sunday, but Singh said it never came.
“This week, they are saying that we are scheduled for water on Saturday. No matter how many times I asked if they could give us water out of schedule due to the length of time we had no water, I was not given a response,” Singh said.
With a family of five, Singh said 800 gallons could not last a week with everyone bathing twice a day, cooking and washing.
His neighbour, who requested anonymity, said he was just about to purchase water yesterday when a WASA truck came. For the past month and a half, his family had to cut their consumption significantly.
“I stop doing many things. We flush the toilets once a day and bathe once a day. Washing the car and watering plants is a no-no. I had a little kitchen garden. All the peppers died,” the resident said.
The residents approached Tabaquite MP Anita Haynes and Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation chairman Henry Awong for help.
Singh said that WASA still sends bills for periods they did not supply water, and the Authority told them that it does not give rebates.
“I contacted an attorney to draft the proper wording for a petition for the residents to sign. The attorney advised me that once there are enough signatures, we should have cause to take WASA to court for negligence and fraud. It is negligent for not performing its duties, which is supplying water via the schedule and fraud for still issuing invoices,” Singh said.
Haynes said she spoke to WASA officials, resulting in some residents getting a truck-borne water supply yesterday. She said the water pressure is an issue. Even when there is water in the Poonah Road area, it does not reach Montique Lands. She said she also requested help from the Corporation to assist the residents.
Guardian Media reached out to WASA for a response, but there was none up to press time.