WASA CEO Allan Poon King (left) and Desaclott General Manager John Thompson, share an elbows greeting, at the Desalcott news conference in Point Lisas, on Thursday 12 November 2020. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

WASA consumers in South and Central Trinidad would be the hardest hit when Desalcott shuts down its plant at Point Lisas, next week.

The proposed shut down was announced by Allan Poon King, Chief Executive Officer at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), during a joint media conference with Desaclott’s General Manager, John Thompson, today, Thursday 12 November 2020, at Desalcott’s Point Lisas headquarters.

WASA CEO Allan Poon King at the Desalcott news conference in Point Lisas, on Thursday 12 November 2020. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

“The shutdown starts on Monday November 16th and would run for seven days in order to facilitate upgrades at the plant,” the WASA CEO advised.

“This interruption has become necessary for Desalcott to do necessary maintenance works,” he added.

He also noted that WASA conducted maintenance at its Caroni plant last week, to ensure supplies are not disrupted while maintenance was being undertaken at Desalcott.

Desalcott General Manager John Thompson said the shutdown will facilitate essential maintenance before the start of the dry season, and hinted there are signs an early dry-season is imminent.

Desalcott provides some 40 million gallons of water daily to WASA, which is used to supply water to industrial consumers on the Point Lisas Industrial Estate, as well as domestic consumers in the South.

The areas in Central and South/Southwest Trinidad to be affected by the Desalcott shutdown include: Caroni Village, Cunupia, Claxton Bay, Couva, Carapichaima, San Fernando, La Romaine, Debe, Penal, Fyzabad and La Brea.

Desaclott General Manager John Thompson at the Desalcott news conference in Point Lisas, on Thursday 12 November 2020. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

“During the shutdown, WASA would be redistributing supplies and new schedules would be posted,” Poon King said.

“The Caroni Water Treatment Plant would be used to supply Central, while in South/Southwest, water would come from the Navet Water Treatment Plant and the Point Fortin Desalination Plant,” he explained. “Truck-borne supplies would be utilized in case issues arise with the pipe-borne supply. Understandably, public institutions and health institutions would be given priority.”

He added: “We should have the temporary schedules posted by this Friday on WASA’s website. In addition, persons can contact WASA by calling the hotline on 800-4426, or via WhatsApp on 709-7793, as well as on our social media platforms.”

Poon King reported that WASA has had favourable rainfall since August, which lifted supplies at its reservoirs, but urged consumers to still practise conservation.

“We urge consumers to conserve water although levels at most reservoirs—except the Arena Reservoir—have gone up past traditional averages,” he said.  “The rains have pushed up the Navet Reservoir, it is now 90.6 percent filled.  The Hollis Reservoir is at 96.4 percent filled; Hillsborough, Tobago, is 100 percent filled. Meanwhile, the Arena Reservoir is still low at 68 percent; Arena has a long term average of 84 percent filled.”

The WASA CEO also reminded the public that WASA has engaged with a private bill collection agency to ensure consumers pay all outstanding monies owed to the water provider.