The Water Crisis in Trinidad and Tobago – WASA and Bribes

I have to knock WASA again because, apart from the government,  it is the one organization that threatens to bring this country to its knees and by the end of March, 2010.

Naturally, people ignored WASA’s media-enriching ads to conserve water but that is not the reason Trinidad and Tobago find itself in hot water with no water. The reason has to do with the state-encouraged incompetence that plagued, and apparently still plagues WASA up to today. This incompetence caused over half of WASA’s water to go down the drain and people’s back yards.  Ask the average customer how long WASA takes to repair a waterfall-level leak without paying a bribe and the answer would be something like a few months to never.  That is the reason the public sarcastically laughs at WASA’s top and bottom including their chairman who is all grandiose smoke and no fire. The organization is visibly inept, and if the visible part of WASA is so frighteningly dysfunctional one can only imagine what is happening underground and in behind closed doors.

If I was the Minister of Public Utilities or the Prime Minister, I would announce the firing of WASA’s entire Board and Management at a high-profile press conference.  Let the public know who the criminals really are. Now that WASA has the country’s back against a wall again, they are bringing out the rum-shop-and bribe-friendly WASA police to harass and charge citizens for washing their cars or bathing their dogs using a garden hose.  Fix the leaks first and then charge yourself, WASA!, You are the biggest waster of water in the country.  Everybody in Trinidad and Tobago knew for years WASA’s truck drivers were selling water, everybody except the authorities at WASA because they don’t listen to the news. WASA’s management style is known as Incompetent Ostrich.

WASA is now saying  meters may be the answer to conservation, something a 11-year-old could have told them 30 years ago. Do we have stupid people running WASA? That was a rhetorical question but I must answer it – we do. Let’s hope the Government and the RIC will light a big fire under WASA’s lazy, incompetent and dishonest butt.

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15 thoughts on “The Water Crisis in Trinidad and Tobago – WASA and Bribes

  1. WASA’s CEO said that 60 or 67% of leaks occur in private properties. That means, according to WASA’s CEO, WASA was not responsible for those leaks and I agree. What the CEO of this corrupt Authority failed to say was how much water was being lost due to private leaks as compared to public leaks. It is the volume of water that matters not the number of leaks. I imagine he conveniently left out that data to protect his ass. The situation is getting sadder everyday.

  2. Easier for WASA to blame citizens
    Friday, February 5th 2010

    From The Trinidad Express

    In a disgraceful attempt to transfer blame for the Water and Sewerage Authority’s abject failures from the Government and WASA’s mismanagers, WASA’s Mr Lee Young glibly claimed that ’it is estimated that 67 per cent of leaks occur from the service connection to the inside of people’s properties’, thus implying that customers are responsible for 67 per cent of the water wasted. This, in spite the well-known fact that about 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the water WASA produces leaks away before reaching WASA’s customers.

    Mr Lee Young gave no details or even a hint of how WASA came up with that ’estimate’, and the talk-show hosts and TV show hosts to whom he said it asked no questions. It is important that Mr Lee Young inform us of what methods WASA used to get that ’estimate’. Personally, I believe it was the ’pull it out of a hat’ method. Plus he gave no ’estimate’ of how many gallons per day of water are lost that way.

    In any case, the last estimate, to use Mr Lee Young’s term, of the number of people who do not get a regular supply of water or get no supply is in the vicinity of 70 per cent, and only 30 per cent get water 24/7 or more than three days per week. Thus, Mr Lee Young says 67 per cent of the leaks are in the properties of people, 70 per cent of whom apparently leak away water they do not get. I guess he knows that we, the people, are fools and cannot figure that out.

    I would prefer Mr Lee Young tell us why the Government spent billions on tall, empty buildings, a useless stadium and even more useless summits, instead of doing what was needed over the past nine years to ensure a good water supply to all the people today. Given that he thinks it’s the people at fault, I don’t believe he will do anything to change the abysmal inability and unwillingness of WASA to provide the people with water. It is far easier to blame the victims-the long suffering people.

    Dennis Leslie

  3. Is water being wasted at the PM’s Residence?
    Friday, February 5th 2010

    From The Trinidad Express

    This is a letter to the Leader of the Opposition (whomever that may be) or to Mr Warner, who might be the best one to ask some questions in the Parliament about the water conservation practices at the Prime Minister’s Residence and Diplomatic Centre, having regard to the concerns expressed by the Water and Sewerage Authority about water wastage.

    1. What is the size of the water main entering the property?

    2. How much water does it take to keep his grounds nice and green, and is there an automatic irrigation system used to do same? If there is such a system,will it be turned off during the dry season?

    3. How much water is wasted due to evaporation and windage at the various water features and pools-ie, how much water is needed to top-up these features on a weekly basis?

    4. Is the Residence metered?

    5. If so, how much do the taxpayers have to dole out on this water usage?

    6. Are the WASA water police going to be able to make unannounced, immediate access visits to the Residence to check on water management practices at the household?

    7. If found in breach of the rules that WASA has set out, is the Prime Minister going to be charged, as any other citizen who is found to breach these rules?

    While we are at it, is anyone going to turn off the irrigation system that is meant to water the walkway at Hyatt waterfront, but was actually flooding Wrightson Road recently? Hasn’t the use of sprinklers been banned until further notice? If so, why is the Hyatt exempted?

    I also reckon that WASA is grossly underestimating the number of leaks they say they have in the system! More like 4,000, not 400.

    If you get those repaired, I guess you may deliver a huge blow to the problem ’you’ have with wastage!

    Concerned conserver

    St Ann’s

  4. I am beginning to wonder if neither WASA’s Management nor the Minister knew about the alleged effects of Global Warming before last month. From WASA’s desperate actions to date I doubt it. But I am sure somebody in the Government knew about this Global Warming thing before since they were using it to explain to citizens why there was so much mud in their living rooms. Ok, so WASA was caught doing what the do best and that was either nothing or liming by the river.

  5. I think members of the public should report any instances of a clean car driven by WASA’s management and Government Officials to the nearest WASA police station to help save water.

  6. Why wet fetes?
    Saturday, February 6th 2010

    From the Trinidad Express

    Let me get this straight – WASA now has officers doing water patrols, and charging citizens for hosing down their vehicles, cleaning their yards, bathing their dogs, etc. Yet a number of ’wet fetes’’ were allowed during the Carnival season, where thousands of gallons of water were sprayed on mindless patrons just for the fun of it.

    Is anyone else confused and severely agitated by this fact? If this isn’t double standard, then I don’t know what is.

    Andrew Mohan


  7. Monday, February 8th 2010

    Enter WASA gestapo

    From the Trinidad Express

    As if life was not hard enough in the country we now have to contend with the WASA Gestapo (or is it WASA KGB?) searching for victims to haul before the courts.

    I can see in my crystal ball plumbers making plenty money as people will be rushing to fix their leaks etc. The hardware stores will now jack up their prices to make a killing on pipes, tapes and seals etc and corruption will reign once again.

    Meanwhile the poor man will be sweating, waiting for the plumber to come (’ah coming next week!’’ or ’Tomorrow for sure!’’) and waiting for the next pay day to get the money to pay the plumber and the hardware.

    What will the allegedly corrupt previous managers of WASA be doing? Will WASA come down on them as heartlessly as they are clamping down on the ordinary people? Will WASA send their Gestapo for them for their allegedly corrupt practices?

    Aasha Ramadin

    Palo Seco

  8. It is not only the PM who will come under scrutiny but WASA officials and Government Ministers. This water crisis looks like it’s heading for a riot. The only people who are not taking this water crisis seriously is WASA as major leaks go unattended and WASA customer service representatives continue to operate as voice recorders since they offer the customers no information as to when leaks will be fixed or why some leaks, despite causing serious private property damage are wilfully being ignored. These CSRs are polite but not surprisingly useless.
    To get an idea of WASA’s disorganization one only needs to take a look at their Head Office’s yard which has equipment like trucks thrown all over the place like a scattered brain. WASA is not a new organization but for some reason they still have no idea what their function is much less how to do it. To describe WASA as an organization as crazy, lazy and dysfunctional would be generous. If it is one thing that this water crisis will do for Trinidad and Tobago is to get rid of the organization called WASA and replace it with an organization that understands that river limes and visiting rum shops should never be done during working hours.

  9. The Prime Minister’s contractor was caught watering the Prime Minister’s lawn and was fired by the Prime Minister because the Prime Minister didn’t know his contractor was watering the Prime Minister’s lawn despite the Prime Minister’s Wife telling the contractor to stop wasting water on grass. It appears the Prime Minister only became aware there was a water crisis in the country a couple days ago during a speech where he urged a handful of supporters to stop wasting water on grass. One wonders if the Prime Minister would have fired the contractor or even noticed his grass was the greenest in the land if the Trinidad Express hadn’t brought it to the nation’s attention.

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