WATER SUPPLY A NATIONAL CRISIS

When large communities in central and south Trinidad are denied a water supply for weeks, while urban areas get a constant free flow, it is not the commodity that is in short supply.

It is justice.

It is equity, fair play, even-handedness.

That is the current situation in Trinidad and Tobago, where many residents of Barrackpore, Penal, Tableland, Debe, Moruga, Mayaro, the south-western peninsula and more have not seen water through their taps for up to a month.

In some cases, the water lock-off has extended for even longer.

Consider the impact on families, including school children, on farmers who feed the nation.

Water is life.

The response from the authorities has been gobbledygook about a drought, although, intriguingly, this has largely affected only a selected geographic area of our small island.

Notably, three of the four major water reservoirs are in the central region of the country.

Apart from the raw injustice in water distribution, funding for truck-borne supplies has also dried up.

Chairman Dr. Allen Sammy says Penal-Debe Regional Corporation delivered 43,200 gallons to 108 homes a day.

Money for this essential project has run out, and the Ministry of Finance is not treating the matter with the urgency it deserves.

That state of affairs exists at certain other municipal bodies.

At these tough economic times and in the year 2019, many working class families are forced to feed a black market in order to obtain this basic commodity.

The preamble of the national constitution tells of “equal and inalienable rights”.

Further, “the principles of social justice… and …the operation of the economic system should result in the material resources of the community being so distributed as to sub-serve the common good…”

Section 4 (d) enshrines “the right of the individual to equality of treatment from any public authority in the exercise of any functions.”

How does that gel with the ongoing blatant denial of a water supply to tens of thousands of nationals?

 Fair-minded nationals appreciate the protracted dry season and its impact on water resources.

But it is difficult to escape the conclusion that there is blatant prejudice in distribution, making the matter a national crisis that demands transparency and accountability.

There is also the fundamental issue of why this island nation still cannot harvest an ample supply for the needs of the population.

In 2010, about 24 per cent got a 27/7 supply, and this grew to 76 per cent by 2015.

What has happened since?

What are the results of the touted billion-dollar taxpayer-funded expansion projects?
That is a relevant and vital issue that deserves a comprehensive public explanation.

But for today – and in the anguished tones of Iwer George – the people want water!

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