Speaking with Newsday, George said the shortage was due to maintenance work on the large desalination plant at Point Lisas within the last week. However, the plant was back up and running yesterday, George said.
“In the last week, the desalination plant has been down for maintenance,” he said. “Because of that areas in Central and South Trinidad have not had water. But the desalination plant is now back up and running and in the next two days water will be back.”
He added, “Ever so often a plant has to shut down for maintenance.”
The minister said while the plant was up and running yesterday, it will take time for water to flow in taps. But water should be available by tomorrow.
“The reason why it takes two days or so is because water is not like electricity where the effect is immediate,” he said. “Water is different. It will take some time to travel.”
The minister did not say whether any advance notice was given to Water And Sewage Authority (WASA) customers over the maintenance work at the plant.
With heavy rains in the Maraval area over the weekend, George also noted that WASA’s Maraval Waterworks facility, where water is treated for consumption, was shut down temporarily.
“The closest facility we have to where we treat water is the Maraval Waterworks,” he noted. “Whenever rain falls it is shut down. That did happen this week, but it is backed up.” George said there was no concern that flooding has contaminated the water supply. He noted that the main water catchment areas were not affected by flooding this week.
“Where we are taking water from is not affected by this,” he said, noting the main catchment areas are at tCaroni, Arima and Valencia.
George noted that his ministry had earlier this year announced the goal of raising the daily supply of pipe-borne water to the population to at least two days per week. As of yesterday, he said, 97 percent of the ministry’s goals in this regard have been achieved.
“The issue we have now is to sustain this (rate of progress),” he said. “We have a lot of work to do to change pipes and new mains and improve on it in next year.” He said he hoped over time that complaints about water supply will be a thing of the past.
George said issues relating to non-functioning aspects of the treatment plant at Caroni, which he raised earlier this year, have largely been resolved.
Attention will next turn to another facility, at El Soccorro where wells will be refurbished.