WASA moves to update water legislation

As T&T stares down the bar­rel of what of­fi­cials de­scribe as one of the coun­try’s “harsh­est dry sea­sons”, the Wa­ter and Sew­er­age Au­thor­i­ty (WASA) has be­gun the process to up­date the leg­is­la­tion which gov­erns the body.

It would see the in­crease of cur­rent fines as well as wa­ter rates.

These up­dates act­ing WASA CEO, Alan Poon King said, on The Morn­ing Brew, would help the body to bet­ter per­form their du­ties. Speak­ing about the fines for wast­ing wa­ter, the CEO lament­ed that cur­rent laws are out­dat­ed. “The law we are un­der… was en­act­ed in 1965. At that time, the grand fine of $75 was ap­plied. Our law has not changed since then. We are now mak­ing steps to have those fines in­creased sig­nif­i­cant­ly but that has to go through a process,” he said.

Asked about the chances of hav­ing the fine in­creased be­fore the end of this dry sea­son giv­en the coun­try’s par­lia­men­tary process, he said: “We have, as I said, start­ed the process and we are work­ing with our line min­istry, the Min­istry of Pub­lic Util­i­ties to­wards hav­ing it be­cause that is a ma­jor part in what we need to do. We are hop­ing to have it well be­fore the end of the dry sea­son.”

He al­so re­vealed that they have sig­nalled their over­seers, the Reg­u­lat­ed In­dus­tries Com­mis­sion (RIC), that they will be com­ing with a pro­pos­al to have the wa­ter rates in­creased. The cur­rent sys­tem charges rates based up­on the val­ue of the prop­er­ty with the high­est al­lowed rate be­ing $304 every three months; rough­ly $3 per day.

While speak­ing about the re­cent wa­ter re­stric­tion im­ple­ment­ed by the au­thor­i­ty and ef­forts on their end to con­serve wa­ter dur­ing this time, King said there would be more fre­quent pa­trols by the au­thor­i­ty’s se­cu­ri­ty ser­vices.

“In years gone by you would have heard about wa­ter po­lice. Yes, WASA has a se­cu­ri­ty arm and they would be do­ing pa­trols to mon­i­tor and that re­al­ly, it would be the main fo­cus.” He in­formed that they would be in­creas­ing pa­trols and their re­sponse to re­ports of wa­ter wast­ing,” he said.

He as­sured that the au­thor­i­ty would be guid­ed by the laws of the land to en­sure they aren’t over step­ping their con­sti­tu­tion­al bounds in this process.

- by Rishard Khan. Photo by Rishi Ragoonath.

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