The sparring over water occurred during debate on an urgent matter of public importance in the Lower House.
Persad-Bissessar cited recent news headlines of water woes in areas such as Todds Road, Chatham, Lopinot, Penal, Moruga, St Barb’s (Laventille), Maracas and Las Cuevas.
“It seems to be a widespread problem.
I have had first hand experience. What has happened?” Citing promises made in the People’s National Movement 2015 general election manifesto of sustainability in water supply, she said, “About 20 months later they have failed miserably.” She said people now face “pain and trauma” as WASA is allegedly not fulfilling its own water delivery schedule, leaving some people to pay $1,000 per truckload illegally.
Persad-Bissessar said if there is no shortage in the nation’s reservoirs, public complaints of non-supply must be due to poor management of water distribution. She asked how schools or tourist hotels could function without a water supply.
Hinds, in reply, cited news headlines from 2011, 2013and 2015 all lamenting water shortages saying it is nothing new, as he accused Persad-Bissessar of trying to create panic.
He said WASA has told him that the water- levels in their reservoirs are now “above average”. He proposed using the Madamas River as a new source of water supply.
Hinds estimated that 50 percent of WASA’s water supply is lost in leaking pipelines. He challenged an Opposition claim to have supplied 73 percent of all homes.