A WASTEWATER treatment plant was opened in Malabar on Friday, promising “a cleaner and healthier TT.”
Public Utilities Minister Robert Le Hunte, who commissioned the plant, however, urged people not to take such facilities for granted and to conserve water.
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The plant, close to the UTT O’Meara Campus, was completed late last year and Le Hunte admitted the launch was “long overdue.”
“It is necessary, however, because a project of such great scope and significance when it comes to the health and wellbeing of our communities and our environment, should not be overlooked,” he said.
He used the opportunity to address “weaknesses” and the “need for a more reliable supply to various communities,” two issues he said have featured prominently in the media.
“We just emerged from a dry season that was unusually harsh,” Le Hunte explained. “And to date, we have received less rainfall than is the norm for this time of year. The result is reservoir levels that are less than half of what usually obtains during the wet season.
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“From that perspective, the multi-pronged approach that we have been pushing since last year continues to be implemented â” not just on our part in relation to leak repairs and the digging of wells and so on, but also when it comes to the ways in which we use water across the country. Conservation of resources is a must, not just for the dry season, but for the long term. And so, I urge us all to continue to be mindful of the ways in which we use water.”
Le Hunte said the services WASA offers are often overlooked.
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“Like most utilities, we donât really notice its existence until something goes wrong. From this perspective, it can be argued that no news is good news. And this is the case for WASAâs wastewater services.”
Le Hunte said WASA has been quietly developing infrastructure and implementing systems that can adequately serve the growing needs of communities for wastewater management. The Malabar he added, is only the first phase of “a long-term and capital-intensive programme that will have a tremendous impact on our wastewater management systems in TT.”
WASA has also recently started building wastewater treatment plants in San Fernando and in Tobago, both of which, Le Hunte said, will be completed by the end of 2020.
“All of these projects, which are funded by the IDB, represent our governmentâs continued commitment to achieve the sustainable development goal of clean water and sanitation, as outlined in our national development strategy or Vision 2030.
“As it stands, 30 per cent of our population benefits from sewerage connections. In this regard, we are in a better position than most of our Caribbean neighbours,” he said, adding there is room for improvement.
“The completion of these three major projects would carry our coverage up to 48 per cent, with the aim of reaching 60 per cent by 2030.”
Le Hunte said the project will result in a reduction in public health risk, while the environment will also benefit from the proper collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater,
He thanked the Inter-American Development Bank for its collaboration with the utilities ministry.