Home / View Point / Guest Columns / STREET VIBE: T&T still toting over ‘water for all’ promise; Hinds and WASA are no help

STREET VIBE: T&T still toting over ‘water for all’ promise; Hinds and WASA are no help

I recall some of the many fights I got into as a child growing up in the early 1960s in what was once considered “the country.” Many of these fights occurred near the “standpipe” where we fought over whose turn it was to full our buckets and pitch-oil tins. Those were the days of “toting” water, sometimes on our heads, sometimes in box-carts.

Sometimes, too, we looked on helplessly as the water pressure disappeared before our very eyes.

Photo: Water, water, water... (Copyright RD.com)
Photo: Water, water, water…
(Copyright RD.com)

Fast forward to some 60 years and two oil booms later, with technological advances beyond our wildest imagination. Citizens are still falling victims to the massive incompetence which passes for governance by the powers-that-be, be they red and/or yellow.

The promise of “water for all” has come and gone like a thief in the night. The building boom which accompanied the oil booms made our demands for this precious commodity even greater.

That billions of dollars have been spent on an island—surrounded, by definition, by water—where half the nation goes for half of the year with no water and no one in authority seems alarmed must be cause for concern.

That the Minister of Public Utilities can come and tell the nation that “there is no water shortage” while the people at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) acknowledge that the ‘country’s water sources have been impacted by the dry season’ is a clear indication that Mr Hinds is as clueless as his other colleagues.

To quote a friend: Fire yourself, Hinds!

I have always found it ironic that for about half the year we suffer from a lack of water while for the other half we suffer from excess of it, floods. But then, can we realistically expect anything different from an organisation which is known by all to await the paving of a road before they come digging to lay pipelines?

Photo: Water gone. (Courtesy News.Gov.TT)
Photo: Water gone.
(Courtesy News.Gov.TT)

This organisation also saw several fires occurring in the same part of their building in recent times.  The burned-out section—certainly a coincidence!—happens to be the area where the accounting records are/were stored.  And this dysfunctional organisation reminded us that they are responsible for all the waters in the nation.  As such, they imposed a tax on farmers who use river and ravine water to water their crops.

This is the same organisation which, despite their billions of man-hours experience in road damage has to return a handful of times to fix a single leak and can never properly repair the roadways.

For the record, I am no rocket scientist. However, it does not take rocket science to recognise that there are many options on the market to desalinate water.  This nation consists of communities scattered along the coastlines.

Meanwhile, Tobago can be described as all costal. Is it rocket science to have small but effective, decentralised desalination plants set up to serve these communities, thereby allowing the dams’ waters to be used for the population further inland?

Are we to believe that, after six full decades, no one in the water business has seen it fit to suggest this? And if someone has, then can someone, anyone, explain why citizens of this nation have to be stressed out each year over this dry season ritual?

Photo: A homeowner wastes water. (Courtesy isustainableearth)
Photo: A homeowner wastes water.
(Courtesy isustainableearth)

In a society where monies were recently earmarked to get rid of ‘latrines in Laventille,’ many people in rural areas find it necessary to maintain a latrine as “a back-up.” The reason? An inconsistent, unreliable water supply.

When the only approach to resolving matters appears to be “burn-tire-diplomacy,” when the people elected or selected and given the mandate to manage the people’s affairs are out of touch with the citizenry, it is time for their recall. The days of “toting” water are gone, never to return, certainly not with the numerous options available in an island.

It is curious, almost funny that the people who bottle water and the ones who manufacture soft drinks and the ones who make beers don’t ever seem to experience water shortages. Is there a conspiracy at work here?

In the last 60 years, the only thing which seems to have changed is that many of us who were toting water in box-carts back then are now doing so using Frontiers, Rangers, Hiluxes and other high-end vehicles.

I think that that is reason for anyone who has ever served in the capacity of Public Utilities Minister of this country, in fact, perhaps even as a government minister in this nation should be ashamed.

But then again, for someone to be ashamed suggests that that person has a sense of shame, knows what shame is.

Is that true of the parasites who just change colours we are dealing with, Minister Hinds for example?

Photo: Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds. (Copyright Power102FM)
Photo: Minister of Public Utilities Fitzgerald Hinds.
(Copyright Power102FM)

AboutRudy Chato Paul Sr

Rudy Chato Paul, Sr, is passionate about gardening, music and writing and boasts post-graduate certification in Anthropology, Criminology and Sociology. He also studied Theology, which is why he is actively seeking to make Trinidad a better place rather than waiting for divine intervention. 

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67 comments

  1. Why do we wait for subsidies to be removed to start making a difference

  2. Anytime the government talk about removing subsidies from anything , including gas, what happens? The opposition and bandwaggonist in the wings protests. They pretend to care for poor people. Conversely governments have realized , one false move and people vote them out, So in truth they don’t get time to do anything substantial. Just musical chairs, over 3 decades diversification and where are we today. Depending on OIL. the economy at a standstill, money not circulating,, no contracts no jobs all based on oil prices.

  3. follow the conversation, you might understand the discourse

  4. If the electricity rates are raised you will see a mad rush for alternative energy . At present there is no real incentive given the cheap rates .

  5. the resource curse’oil’ have us comfortable,so talk of diversification emerge again, but we still doing nothing. everything is the government fault. as you said, we never had to fight for anything in T&T so we sit back and complain about government shortcomings. Recession Is Rowley fault, he not seeing about his people( still trying to find out what that means) They ready to vote out PNM and bring back those people. Trinis never had to think outside the box or become innovative. Money is no problem so one set theifing , and the next set waiting to see , if the thieves will share some with them Comedy central is on in T&T

  6. Neccessity is the mother of invention. As a Trini living and working all up the Eastern Caribbean, I am seeing much smaller, much poorer islands going green, rainwater harvesting and doing solar powered desalination and advanced irrigation systems for agriculture that wastes less water, because they HAVE TO. I currently live in Saint Lucia, my apartment collects rainwater and a solar panel heats it.

    We have it TOO GOOD in T&T so we never had to think outside the box when it comes to our utilities. “Gov’ment go tek care ah we!” mentality. Nope. It is ordinary citizens who need to innovate along with private sector partners. There is even funding available from international agencies for these things of projects.

    • The problem with that is WASA and T&TEC have to be paid. Capitalism!!With the abundance of sun for energy to solar panels,T&TEC may go out of business.

    • So T&TEC don’t have the foresight to go into green energy solutions? WASA don’t have the vision to invest in water innovation? How come LUCELEC in St. Lucia is doing that? They are exploring solar, wind and geothermal energy alternatives.

      Again, complacency is the issue.

    • There are limitations to even installing PV panels. T&TEC are the only ones authorised to provide electricity. You can do it if you’re off grid. Just now with the O&G gone they will have no authority. On another note, we do have incentives for solar water heaters, but Trinis are too short-sighted

  7. Hinds has proved to be a complete failure in all his postings. Plenty TALK and no action.

  8. Absolutely cluess , don’t have an idea as to what to do ,

  9. He was not there and there was problem.so it is nothing new

  10. Mr. Fitzgersld Hinds is clueless to what is happening in the Ministry he was given, far more what is taking place in the country.

  11. So round by water …. an none

  12. That’s why I say Ras Short I ‘s song ‘ MONEY EH NO PROBLEM ‘ SHOULD BE OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM .

  13. Trinidadians have been complicit in their own malgovernance. In order to gain support successive administrations have allowed and rewarded practices which inevitably makes the nation near impossible to administrate, and now that it’s time to pay the piper people are wondering why.

  14. While the blame game goes on/politicking, what are citizens doing?Nothing and the politicians knows that. Trinis talk, ,talk no action. Politicians laughing at the passivity and nonchalant attitude of Trinis. The power is in the hands of the people. After 50 years when will Trinis wake up?

  15. How come squatters have TTEC connections? Do squatters also have water connections? Aren’t you supposed to have a deed for both WASA and TTEC?

  16. UNC?
    Yeah they’re negligent as well, but the PNM ran this banana for far more years than the UNC, and during oil booms to boot and people in many areas are still living the way they did during colonial times.

  17. millions spent and roads dug up for decad. UNC and PP tell us Water for ALL. Sesalination planst under the same administrations, people buil swimming pool in the back yard and we still waiting fro water. Meanwhile ans WASA still blliing us normel, normal. now Fitzy say it eh have no water shortage. and he eh lie popel washing cars, and watering flowers everday, Any water police driving around to charge them? Anybody making jail,in this lawless society. everbody know to blame the governmetn who corrupt, but what about the corrupt citizens. Only in T&T CoMedy Central

    • They didn’t put out any bulletins saying you couldn’t water flowers and wash cars. They normally do when there’s a shortage. Hinds says there isn’t one so why would people be charged?

    • Again. No one has to put out a bulletin about Wtaer or lighting FIRE in dry season.THis is an annual occurences, (or you probably visitng T&T ) I apologise this occurs every dry season. If people used to be charged, it would have been different. Some people haven;t seen water for months. We are a selfish and uncaring people, We have to waste it at the expense of other,s We dont care .Sweet T&T. TO DO RIGHT POLICE MUST BE ON OUR BACKS

    • There is a law against starting fires- however there’s no law against watering plants and washing cars except when WASA puts out a ban on the use of a hose for such purposes. And I don’t visit here, I live here.

    • Hello, people who never had pipe borne water actually got when the PP was in office. Allyuh jes type because you want to criticise? Take the party blinkers off

    • This is a decade old problem. Over the last 2-3 decades housing schemes (private and public have increased) and less water to go around. This is not only about WASA, but climate change. Water shortage is nothing new. Its dependent where you live. In the EAST West Corridor for decades water comes / every 2-3 days. It is normal. I read last week where there has been 2 new discovery to improve the water system in the East. WATER FOR ALL was politics. Some people have pipelines for years and have never seen water. it is up to citizens to demand what they want from whomever is in office

    • There are lots of places in the east – west corridor that have a reliable water supply every day. I lived for years in one. Be careful not to make sweeping generalisations.

  18. There is no water shortage – wasa workers just enjoy turning off the pumps when they bored

  19. What all yuh fretting bout?
    Fitzie say it eh have no water shortage AND relief is on the way.
    Only ah boss minister could promise relief tuh water shortages he say doh exist!

  20. Maybe it’s not the problem of the minister since we have change many. Maybe it’s at the company and the attitude of the workers we need to change ?

  21. ALL.THIS RAIN IN RAINY SEASON OVER DECADES, WHERE DOES IT GO??

  22. Studies have shown for decades that the way forward was universal metering coupled with aggressive collection of rates. We seem to lack the will to do what is needed.

  23. While I fully agree that it is ludicrous to have to go weeks without a pipe borne water supply, I had to laugh at the suggestion of a series of desalination plants. Unless things have changed radically when I wasn’t looking, desal water is far more expensive than reservoir sources. The process is also very energy intensive. I wonder if we would be willing to pay the true economic cost of a reliable water supply?

    Having said that, we waste far too much water through leaks and poor usage habits. Perhaps we need to start following other islands where rainwater catchment is a requirement for every house being built.

    • I am not even going to explain the horror I felt today when I was passing in front of ADB on Henry street and a truck was filling the tanks I guess. The hose had such a huge leak, the guy put a mat to prevent the spray. But at least 1/4 of that water waste, I am sure. Would have taken a pic if he was not watching me smh lol.

    • Too much wastage indeed – poor usage habits and wasa lingering while leaks away are the main contributors imo rainwater catchment should be required – hope we don’t have to pay to use rain water…

    • Just remember ALL water belongs to WASA eh. So I find people affected by floods should sue them/tell them come collect their water lol.