The inefficiency of the existing 311-water fault reporting system has led to several complaints received by the Minister of Public Utilities, Melford Nicholas. As a result, the Minister is actively seeking a better solution for the problem.
In May, he approached Marvin Gonzales, the Minister for Public Utilities in Trinidad and Tobago, to help develop an alternative to the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) app used in Trinidad and Tobago.
However, during last week’s Cabinet press briefing, the Minister stated that Trinidad and Tobago has not yet provided any assistance.
Therefore, they may have to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to local developers to design a fault reporting system with a ticketing system that can improve their responsiveness.
Meanwhile, the government is working on increasing water production to meet demand due to drought conditions.
The Minister aims to achieve water production figures of up to 15 million gallons per day by June 2024.
However, estimating demand is challenging because of the extended hotel season by the Tourism Authority and Ministry of Tourism since the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has led to an increase in water consumption by tourists. Even after upgrading its reverse osmosis plant, Jolly Beach is mainly affected by water shortages. They still require water from the public supply.
To improve water production, the government is constructing and upgrading public reverse osmosis plants and partnering with private water providers under a soon-to-be-finalized agreement.
However, the Minister acknowledged that the focus would be on storage capacity once the improvements are made.
For example, when the Barnacle Point at the Ivan Rodrigues Plant was inoperable, it took 4-5 days to repair, and they had 15-20 million gallons of water in storage that they could have moved around to supply water to the affected areas.
The country lacks the storage capacity to deal with the continuous water supply when the main units go offline.
The Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle, has declared water a nonpartisan issue.
Therefore, the Minister of Public Utilities plans to host a meeting between officials at APUA and the Opposition to devise strategies to address the water shortage in the country.