The Government of Trinidad and Tobago (GOTT) recognizing the need for the development and control of the country's water resources entered into an arrangement with a Canadian firm to train persons in the collection and analysis of basic hydrological and hydrometeorological data between the period July 1966 and late 1970. The persons who were trained formed the first staff of Water Resources Survey, which later became known as the Water Resources Agency and was appended to the Water and Sewerage Authority in March 1976.

The Agency’s data collection system comprises a monitoring network of gauges which measures and reports rainfall, streamflow, groundwater, evaporation and water quality parameters at strategically located sites throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

The data and information derived relates to the trends in the quality and quantity of the surface and groundwater resources required for social and economic development, and the protection of environmental quality.

Within recent times, with the focus of water resources management utilizing the integrated approach requires collaboration with all stakeholders to allow decision making for sustainability of the water resource.

Some key stakeholders are: Environmental Management Authority (EMA), Ministry of Works and Transport Drainage Division, Ministry of Food Production, Land and Marine Resources, Ministry of Public Utilities, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), and the Meteorological Services of Trinidad and Tobago (MET).

Regulatory and Licensing Functions

The WRA issues a water abstraction license, which is a legal contract conferring a water use right, that is, a right to use the water abstracted from a surface or groundwater source. This license does not confer ownership of the water, nor does it guarantee the quality of the water or that the volume authorized for abstraction will always be available. It provides for re-allocation of water in circumstances of emergency, at times of scarcity and in cases of competing applications. Also, it assures that no additional license will be granted which may reduce the volume of previous allocations.

The license to permit the abstraction of water from surface and groundwater sources consists of the following requirements and restrictions:

  • Limits the volume of water to be abstracted on a monthly basis.
  • Limits the use to which water can be made.
  • Limits the duration and validity of the permit.
  • Specifies the method for measurement of volumes of water to be abstracted.
  • Restricts the source(s) from which abstractions may be made.
  • Expires at the end of year in which it is granted.
  • Requires renewal at the end of a calendar year.
  • Requires compliance with the terms and conditions under which the license is issued, default of which may lead to revocation of license.
  • Specifies that violation of the terms and conditions of a license gives rise to an offence.
  • Requires approval of the Ministry of Works, Drainage Division for the construction of any proposed structure in or on the banks of rivers for the diversion of flows.

Applicable Fees

There is an administration fee of $150.00 plus VAT which includes a non-refundable application fee and covers the cost of the associated field and office investigation and the evaluation report, which are undertaken for the determination of the decision on the applications.
The fee structure is as follows:

  • A unit-based charge for the volume of water abstracted to be paid by the licensed abstractor with the charges specific to purpose of use of the abstracted water:
    1. Industrial - $0.36 per cubic metre
    2. Irrigation or industrial - $0.10 per cubic metre (when flow returns as compensation water).
  • A minimum charge of $120.00 per month.
  • Farmers registered with the Ministry of Food Production land and Marine Resources pay to WASA the rate of $0.10 per cubic metre for abstracted water which is to be used for primary agricultural production.
  • Farmers registered with the Ministry of Food Production land and Marine Resources pay to WASA a processing fee of $150.00 plus VAT on application for an abstraction license.