When WASA was established in September 1965, total daily water production in Trinidad and Tobago stood at 45 million gallons per day (m.g.d). Water Treatment Plants in operation at the time were:
Today, production is in excess of 220 m.g.d.
- Maraval Waterworks, constructed in 1853.
- Hollis Reservoir and Waterworks, constructed in 1936.
- Hillsborough Reservoir, constructed in 1952.
This period immediately preceding the nation’s ‘oil boom’ saw water production increase from 45 m.g.d to 65 m.g.d. This increase was a result of several ‘water winning’ projects that came on stream including:
- Increased water production at the Navet Water Treatment Plant from 6 m.g.d in 1966 to 19 m.g.d in 1975.
- The new Courland and Richmond Waterworks, Tobago commissioned in 1975, which added a total daily production 3 m.g.d.
During this decade, water production more than doubled, increasing from 65 m.g.d. to 140 m.g.d. This was a result of a $451 million investment in major water development projects by the Government. Among the major accomplishments of this period were:
- Construction of the North Oropouche Water Treatment Plant in 1979 with a production capacity of 10 m.g.d.
- Completion of the Northern Range Valley Project in 1980, which included the construction of water treatment facilities at Acono, Lluengo/Naranjo, Caura, Aripo and Guanapo.
- The commissioning in 1981 of the $105 million Caroni Arena Project with a production capacity of 60 m.g.d.
Water production figures continued to climb, but at a slower pace compared to previous decades due to the downturn in the nation’s economy. Nonetheless several rural communities were provided with pipe borne water as a result of the following projects:
- The Sans Souci Water treatment Plant commissioned in 1986.
- Completion of the Pt. Fortin and St. Patrick’s Water Supply Projects in 1991 and 1994 respectively.
- The construction in 1991 of the Hillsborough West Water Treatment Plant in Tobago, which produced 1.2 m.g.d.
- Rehabilitation of Courland Waterworks, increasing production to 3 m.g.d in 1994.
In 1995 the local economy began showing signs of emerging from an almost decade long slump while the non-oil sector started to drive economic growth. In 1996, WASA raised $1.5 billion on the local market to fund developmental works. Major projects embarked upon included:
- The South Water Project, which included the upgrade of the treatment plant at Caroni.
- The North Water Project, which focused on the rehabilitation of facilities, mainly in northern areas of the country.
- The Tobago Water Project, that focused on the development of new ground water sources on our sister isle.
By 1999, with the commissioning of the La Fillette Water Supply Project and the Ravine Sable Water Treatment Plant, these investments started reaping benefits.
In 2000, the upgrade at the Caroni Water Treatment Plant was commissioned with a total daily production of 75 m.g.d. The year also saw production commence from six wells as part of the Tobago Water Project. These wells added 2 m.g.d. to Tobago’s distribution system and were the highest producing wells ever drilled on the island.
April 2002 saw the commencement of projects financed under the Government’s National Social Development Programme (NSDP) and Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).
WASA’s objectives under the NSDP were to provide pipe borne water supply to areas of Trinidad and Tobago with pipeline infrastructure but no water supply and also, to improve level of service in underserved communities.
Projects funded under PSIP aimed at improving the reliability of supply to existing customers. These projects included the construction of booster stations to improve the supply to elevated areas; pipeline installation to replace old encrusted pipelines, faulty valves and other appurtenances; placement of commercial tanks; and a leak repair programme.
In 2002, the $120 million Desalination Plant at Point Lisas was put into service, delivering 22 million gallons of water a day.
Today, the Authority produces approximately 220 m.g.d. an increase of over 400% in its 41-year history, it is estimated however that WASA loses between 40% and 50% of its treated water through leakage.
Against this backdrop, the Authority has developed and received approval for a Three-Year Investment Plan, which will serve as a framework for the development of the water and wastewater sector in Trinidad and Tobago.
A key deliverable of the plan is the development of a Water and Waster Master Plan (the last Master Plan was prepared by Metcalf and Eddy in 1975). This new Master Plan would provide a framework for the development of the country’s water and wastewater sector.
The Water Sector Modernization Programme (WSMP) is administering the three-year $1.2 billion plan, which will be implemented in conjunction with a comprehensive NSDP programme.