Sunday 8 December, 2019

South Trinidad hit by water crisis

Water shortages in the Princes Town and Rio Claro/Mayaro areas have reached crisis levels.

In Tableland, the situation is so dire, residents have been left without a pipe-borne water supply for over a month.

The revelation was made by Princes Town Regional Corporation Chairman Gowrie Roopnarine at a sitting of a Joint Select Committee on Wednesday.

Roopnarine said the residents have been coming to the Corporation and crying out for assistance, but the Corporation’s hands are tied due to a lack of funds and a substantial decrease in the allocation from the Finance Ministry to address the situation at the Corporation level.

The Corporation is currently awaiting a disbursement of funds to pay for water trucks to deliver much-needed water to the burgesses.

"In our last financial year, the allocation was $400,000 and at the end of the financial year, we have no releases. We had awarded the contract and we had to pay for that in this financial year.... After we paid we were left with just over $100,000.

So, we were able to award contracts for water-trucking for just two weeks. We are fortunate that we have three water tenders in the Corporation, but at this time there is a crisis," the Corporation Chairman said.

The Chairman of the Mayaro/Rio Claro Corporation described a similar situation facing his Corporation, noting that the allocation for their truck borne service was cut by more than 50 percent.

Further, he said, the Corporation is yet to receive the allocation for this fiscal year.

“Yes, we have gone through the process and applied for funding, but we have not received any funding. Prior to that our funding for truck-borne water for 13 areas was $1 million. This year we have the same number of areas and our allocation is only $400,000.

So, we are in a predicament at this time because we have not received any funding we cannot provide the services to the residents of the region. So we are in a problem at this time," he said.

They are appealing to the Finance Ministry to release the funds as they are currently in a position where they are unable to make outstanding payments to contractors from the last fiscal year, make timely rent payments and provide water to burgesses without a pipe-borne supply.

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