For the very first time, residents of Temple Village, Blanchisseusse Road, Arima, will receive pipeborne water in their homes.
Minister of the Environment and Water Resources, Ganga Singh, yesterday commissioned the Verdant Vale Water Supply Project where over 200 villagers would benefit from potable water.
Incidentally, yesterday was also the 50th anniversary of the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA).
For years, residents relied on the nearby rivers, streams and ravines, and trucks for water. However, the rivers were not always reliable as they were often muddy with silt from nearby quarries.
Rodger Samuel, who is seeking re-election as the Arima MP, said because of quarrying in the area, the water was often unfit for human consumption.
He said the project, which cost $4.8 million, was completed in three months.
It took some time in being commissioned because of legal ramifications.
“We had to get permission to pass lines through private lands.
They had to find out the owners of the land, make connection with the owners and then get legal permission to pass the lines,” Samuel explained.
Resident Vidya Mahabir said she grew up in the village all her life, and recalled when she and other children would have to fill barrels with water from the river, before going to school.
“It is a terrible thing when you have no running water. We would get up on mornings at 6 o’clock and go to the river and fill barrels with water so our mothers could do the washing when we went to school. And that is if the water was clean.
When the water was dirty we would have to dig a pond next to the river to get clean water,” she recalled.
Mahabir said she never thought she would see the day when the villagers would have pipeborne water. She said even with all the previous regimes, no one thought to provide them with potable water.
“They thought we were just a few people, and therefore insignificant.
This is like a dream come true for us,” she said.
Singh said he intended to take up the issue of quarrying and pollution of the rivers, and streams with the Environmental Management Authority and the Ministry of Energy to bring about a solution.
The minister said Government judged its performance on how the poor and the marginalised had access to this basic commodity, called water.
Having completed several projects in Arima with over 9,000 residents benefiting, Singh questioned why did this Government have to do so many projects in Arima after all these years.
“It is clear that there was not a coherent vision, a consistent plan, and love for people to give them this basic human right,” he said.