WORK has begun on a $26 million pipeline project on the Beetham Highway to replace a more than 60-year-old steel main and improve the drinkable water supply to thousands of customers in Port-of-Spain and environs.
Environment Minister Ganga Singh spoke to the media on Monday as work began on the Beetham Transmission Pipeline Project at the Beetham Highway adjacent to the Vehicle Management Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago compound.
He explained that the line being replaced is a 30-inch steel transmission line installed back in the colonial era. He reported that they collected data and there were more than 200 leaks repaired annually on the transmission line, leading to major disruptions in Port-of-Spain and in El Socorro.
“As a result of it, it is necessary for its replacement,” he said. The steel mains will be replaced with 4.5 km of 900mm ductile iron mains and these will run from the Black River, west along the Beetham Highway to the NP Overpass. It will cost TT $26,468,766 and will be done internally. Singh noted that the project — which according to the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) will benefit 20,000 customers — will take approximately three months. He said the benefit will be improved reliability of water supply for Downtown Port-of-Spain and Wrightson Road for domestic customers as well as long-term savings for WASA. The project caused a backup of traffic before the roundabout near Maritime Plaza, Barataria. Singh said they will seek to minimise any traffic disruptions but advised commuters to proceed with caution due to the civil works taking place.
He also reported on another project at Big Yard, Carenage, for 1.6km of 200mm of PVC main. It will run from School Street to Big Yard, and will cost $6.5 million and will benefit residents in that area. Questioned whether the Beetham Transmission Pipeline Project was part of a billion dollar wastewater project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced in September this year, Singh responded that it was not. He explained that this is a potable water project funded by the Government while the IDB is a wastewater project.
Singh said this Government has significantly improved water supply from 18 percent 24/7 up to 70 percent 24/7 currently. He noted there was also service in some areas five-to-six days, and two-to-three days weekly.
Singh indicated there were currently no plans for a new desalination plant. He noted that the Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago (DESALCOTT) is engaged in an expansion project. He said any plans for another plant would be in association with an industrial estate and request for high demand water supply.
Singh stressed the Government is constantly improving the water supply but added that people need to conserve water as well, adding that it is expensive to treat water and to bring it to homes.