ENVIRONMENT and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh intends to work with whatever money is allocated to his ministry in next Monday’s 2013/2014 National Budget in an attempt to reach the ministry’s goal of potable water for all on a daily basis.
Speaking yesterday at the formal commissioning of the Point Fortin Desalination Plant at the Petrotrin Marine Terminal Facility, Singh noted that water woes in TT have been an issue since 1962.
“We intend to work with whatever (money) we get to achieve our goals. It is my hope that the budget would reflect that kind of investment required.
We are dealing with a problem that has been with us since Independence. We require a significant sum of money, but whatever is provided, we understand the necessity for the Finance Ministry to prioritise,” Singh said.
He reiterated that in 2010, 18 percent of the population received a 24/7 supply of water, while even before the commissioning of the plant yesterday, that percentage had increased by 26 percent at present.
The Minister added that the desalination plant, constructed in collaboration with Seven Seas Water Trinidad Limited under a Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) arrangement, celebrated the end of over four decades of water woes of the people of south-western Trinidad.
The plant delivers 4.6 million gallons of water daily to WASA’s transmission system benefitting an estimated 29,000 persons in communities between the borough and La Brea areas. Some of these areas include Mahaica, Clifton Hill, Newlands, Fanny Village, Egypt Village, Reservoir Hill, Harriman Park, Cochrane and Vance River.
“This Seven Seas plant is another successful example of private sector/public sector partnership in order to provide goods and services to improve the quality of life of our people,” he said. Singh promised that the current sewerage problems faced by residents of Techier Village, Point Fortin, would be resolved.
However he added that residents themselves are responsible for the problems because they have built over the sewerage reserves and thus making the sewer main unserviceable.
“So WASA personnel has limited means or absolutely no access to service it. So we would now have to redirect the sewerage main. In some instances, I am told, the manhole covers are located in the bathroom and kitchen.
So this is the kind of anarchy we face in order to resolve some of the problems we have,” Singh explained.
He explained that funding in the area of wastewater has been sourced from the Inter-American Development Bank to the sum of US $279 million to expand and improve the wastewater treatment, collection and disposal systems in Malabar, San Fernando, Maloney, Cunupia and Scarborough in Tobago.
“ This is part of a Multi-Phase Loan in excess of US $578 million from the IADB, TT $ 3.5 billion. On completion of these works, funded by the IADB, 45 percent of the population will benefit from centralised sewerage treatment from the current thirty percent ,” Singh said.
WASA’s chairman Indar Maharaj noted that the desalination project began in May last year and concluded within a year.
Both Member of Parliament for the area , Paula Gopee-Scoon and Point Fortin Mayor, Clyde Paul expressed happiness that the burgesses now have potable water on a regular basis.