Water Minister addresses the six day shutdown by DESALCOTT

Caption: View of the Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago (DESALCOTT) desalination plant in Point Lisas. (Photo courtesy desalcott.com)

November 21, 2013: Minister of the Environment and Water Resources addressed the Post Cabinet Briefing to discuss the planned  six (6) day shutdown by the Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago (DESALCOTT).

The following are his speaking notes:


Minister Singh: “My Cabinet colleagues, members of the media. My task today is really to indicate the ten-point plan WASA has put in place in order to deal with the planned six day shutdown of the Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago from November 20th to 25th.

This planned shutdown is necessary to facilitate expansion works to increase deliver to 40 million gallons by January 2014. This will result in a production daily deficit of approximately 32 million gallons of water per day. WASA currently produces 232 million gallons of water per day and therefore the issue now is how do you redirect the existing 200 million gallons in order to deal with this 32 million gallon shortfall that will take place as a result of the planned six day shutdown by DESALCOTT.

And we have a ten-point plan. 

One; all production facilities, other than DESAL, will be fully operational with a hundred percent reliability. The Caroni Water Treatment Plant, which is our major water treatment plant, will maintain optimum production of 75 million gallons per day of which South Trinidad will receive 47 million gallons and North; 28 million gallons.

In order to deal with this 32 million deficit, we will have to engage in the rescheduling of the water schedules so that therefore there will be a redistribution. Schedules will be readjusted in Central, South East, South West and North West Trinidad to supplement supplies.

Water trucking, third dimension is water trucking. WASA and contracted tankers will provide a fleet on ninety-one trucks to be used as and when needed. (Forgive me I’m nursing a really bad cold).

In addition, north tankers will be redeployed to South with a skeletal fleet left operating in north. Additional filling bays will be set up in Caroni, Carlsen Field, Freeport and Malgre Tout.

Fifth dimension of it is the storage capacity. Critical reservoirs will be filled, the California Tank, the Naparima Reservoir, the Marriot Reservoir, the Chacon Reservoir, Siparia #1 Tank, Quarry Bennett Tanks, Centre Mountain, Mt. Hope and Picton. Total reserve of 24.9 million gallons of water in storage capacity to deal with any eventuality in the area.

The Point Lisas Industrial Estate. A 24/7 supplemental supply from Caroni will be made available to the Industrial Estate at a minimal pressure of 21psi, supply will be monitored on a 24/7 basis.

You will no doubt know that it takes 300 gallons of water to make a ton of methanol and that therefore it is prior to DESAL this is what transpired. So when we boast about being the second largest producer of methanol in the world and ammonia and urea and similar quantities are required for the production of ammonia and urea. So you understand that without water, the Point Lisas estate will shut down. So that the 19 million gallons will be directed to Point Lisas from the Caroni water supply, so the Point Lisas Industrial Estate will be assured of a 24/7 supply so production continues uninterrupted.

The seventh dimension is that we have placed an additional number of crews, a total number of 87 in-house and contracted crews will be made available to effect pipeline repairs. Yesterday there was a pinhole breach of a 30 inch steel pipeline on the Beetham and that breach provided a geezer about forty feet up in the air and it took two hours to repair because of the pressure.

Internal conservation measures, there will be temporary stoppage of pressure testing and flushing of mains to conserve supplies.

And ten, a daily communication with all major stakeholders.

We have paid attention to our critical customers. A total of 172 schools and 75 public institutions have been identified as critical customers, these include schools, medical institutions, Fire Services, the cities, borough key commercial districts. These institutions have been singled out for special focus in terms of truck borne supplies. They will be monitored and reported on twice daily.

In addition, bottled water is provided to a total of 22 schools and health institutions in critically affected areas where water schedules are stringent. The focus is on providing bottled water for drinking purposes whereas the truck borne supply ..(dip in transmission)

For domestic customers, hotspot areas are highlighted in the following areas: South Central; Las Lomas where in which I reside, Pleasance Park, Caratal, St. Margaret. South West Trinidad; Reform Diamond, Phillipine, Rousillac, La Brea, Sobo, Square Deal, Vessigny, Siparia, Irene, Robert Hill. In South East Trinidad; Tableland, Princes Town, Moruga. In North; El Socorro, Laventille, Malick, Quarry Drive, Mt. D’or, Santa Cruz Old Road, (inaudible) Road, San Juan.

There’s a whole external communication plan and that therefore, the Authority has linkages with the Members of Parliament, the Regional Corporations, the Ministries of Health, Education, Fire and Police Services, other interest groups. 

During the shutdown, the external communication strategy will target all stakeholders with respect to changing supply schedules as the situation arise, unplanned emergency situation on the water supply network, and at the availability and the expansion of truck borne service, water conservation, leak repairs and formal notice and publications.

WASA has listed a series of hotlines and therefore that is already in the public domain. The established water schedule is also advertised and in the public domain and you will be communicated with a copy of this brief, together with a Power Point presentation that was prepared for you but the lack of facilities here prevent us from showing you.

Thank you very much.”



The following documents relate  to the temporary shutdown of the Desalination Plant to facilitate expansion works: 

Desalination Plant Temporary Shutdown Action Plan Brief

Desalination Plant Temporary Shutdown Action Plan PowerPoint Presentation

Desalination Plant Temporary Shutdown Water Supply Schedule

Service Disruption Public Notice



For further information please contact: 

Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Level 26, Tower D, International Waterfront Centre

1A Wrightson Road

Port of Spain

Tel: (868) 623-3158 


Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago (DESALCOTT)
Minister of the Environment and Water Resources
Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
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