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No water for 400,000

By NEWSDAY REPORTER Thursday, February 6 2014

MORE than 400,000 persons in 23 communities, including home-owners, businessmen and those in the essential services, will be without pipe-borne water after the 48-inch water main servicing North Trinidad ruptured yesterday along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway in Trincity.

Officials and workers from State utility, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) were last night still at the scene effecting emergency repairs to the ruptured main which is the key line to supply water to north Trinidad including as far east as St Augustine to as far west as St James and areas in between.

WASA corporate communications manager Ellen Lewis last night described the rupture as a “crisis” and advised persons to properly manage their water supplies via water tanks and other means as there may be a lack of water for the next 48 hours while the utility effect repairs to the rupture.

She said an emergency water relief system has been activated where truck-borne water will be supplied to affected customers with emphasis being on providing water to hospitals, schools and special homes including homes for the elderly.

According to a release issued by WASA, the water main reportedly ruptured at about 2.30 pm during piling work which was being undertaken along the westbound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, near Trincity Mall, as part of road expansion work on that part of the highway.

Lewis said an investigation is underway to ascertain how equipment used in the highway expansion exercise ruptured the main. She indicated that both the Ministry of Works and its contractor Jusamco, had prior knowledge of all of WASA’s lines and facilities, both above and below ground, and thus could not understand how it is that the rupture occurred.

In an immediate reponse, Dr Shehenaz Mohammed, chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) confirmed there has been an interruption in water supplies to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope. She added that there is a 36-hour (three day) backup supply of water and all services at the facility will continue as usual.

According to the WASA release, the following areas were directly impacted by the rupture which led to the main being shut off while repairs are taking place:

Port-of-Spain; St James; Western Main Road up to West Shore Medical; Santa Cruz; Barataria; Morvant; Laventille; Beetham Gardens; Gonzales, Belmont; Cascade; St Augustine; Curepe; Farm Road; Champ Fleurs; Mt D’or; Petit Bourg; Valsayn South; Bamboo; EWMSC in Mt Hope; Aranjuez; El Socorro and San Juan.

“This is a crisis but we are capable of dealing with it and we ask our customers for patience and understanding knowing that this rupture was unplanned. It will be a trying situation for customers but WASA is prepared to deal with such a crisis and we have engineers on site,” Lewis said last night. The water main servicing north Trinidad is 48-inches while the main servicing south Trinidad is 54.

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