Opposition MPs have raised questions about quality control and inspections carried out at Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) facilities.
Questions arise following the collapse of a 36-inch pipeline at Godineau Bridge, Mosquito Creek on Tuesday; and a leak at Mon Repos, San Fernando, yesterday.
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal said it is now up to WASA and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to ‘work around the clock’ to fix two major water leaks disrupting supply areas of southern Trinidad on the eve of the Divali festival.
Moonilal called on the authorities to ensure that the supply is restored to the affected communities as soon as possible.
He said tens of thousands of residents had been affected by the leak, and said it was “a heavy blow” for Hindus in Oropouche East and other communities who were clearing their properties ahead of the festival of Monday lights.
“The Water and Sewerage Authority and the Ministry of Works and Transport must deal with this matter by fixing these two breaks in the water supply system as soon as possible,” he said.
Moonilal also called on the authorities to ensure quality control and regular inspections of these and other works to avoid future interruptions.
“At a time when WASA has committed taxpayers to an $80 million loan to improve its service, it is unacceptable that it is undertaking such shoddy work that has led to the collapse of its delivery system,” said he declared.
RIC, get up and take note
Princes Town MP Barry Padarath also criticized the government for cutting allocations to WASA by more than $600 million for equipment, supplies and maintenance in the last two national budgets.
Padarath said: “…with the WASA cuts in these critical areas, the collapse of aging and dilapidated pipelines into the Godineau River yesterday (Tuesday) is no surprise, as the opposition raised these issues over the past few years that have fallen on deaf ears.
Padarath said the Mosquito Creek pipelines serve thousands of citizens in southern Trinidad, and the incident occurred at a time of greater citizen demand for water in the construction of Divali.
And he called on the government to work quickly to ensure pipelines are replaced as soon as possible to alleviate the woes of affected citizens.
Padarath also called for an immediate review of all pipelines, substations and other related infrastructure in the utility sector, in light of Tuesday’s incident, as well as the two power outages that many parts of the country experienced earlier this year.
The MP said it was time the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) stood up and took note of the recent incidents.
“The government, through the budget statement, has indicated that the much needed capital investment in the utility sector will be based on the increase in water and electricity tariffs. This therefore means that the development of infrastructure in this sector depends on the citizens who carry the burden of a service that many of them do not receive or are unhappy with,” he said.