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WASA orders staff at Manning's residence to stop watering lawn

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad--Clear water gushed from more than four plant sprinklers over the lawn grass at Prime Minister Patrick Manning's residence yesterday at St Ann's.
The sprinklers sprayed the backyard of the PM's official home from as early as 9:00am and poured gallons of water to keep the slightly blotchy lawns green for almost half-hour.
But as the water flowed from Manning's residence, residents living nearby had no water coming through their taps.
The sprinklers showered the PM's lawn at a time when many parts of the country have been enduring days, and sometimes weeks of no water.
The country has experienced an unusually dry rainy season, and water reservoirs are at unprecedented lows.
As a result, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) has commenced an all-out water conservation programme and directed WASA's water police to stop and charge citizens for the improper use of water and watering equipment.
Following Express investigations to verify the use of the water at Manning's residence, WASA was notified yesterday.
The authority clamped down on the groundskeepers at Manning's home and directed staff to immediately stop using the sprinklers or similar devices.
General Manager of communications at WASA Ellen Lewis said Tuesday the Water and Sewerage Authority Act Ch 54:40 applied to everyone.
"The law has universal applicability, including all private and State property. Based on the information received, we have been able to verify that water was being used to water the grounds at the prime minister's residence. We have, however, reminded the household's grounds management of the hosepipe restriction in effect as of midnight on February 3, and as such, they are to cease forthwith the use of any hose, sprinkler or similar-type apparatus for the transmission of water," Lewis told the Express by phone.
As WASA has attempted to get customers to repair leaky pipes, stop using hoses to wash cars and to conserve water in other ways, a number of people have been warned for wasting water, and several residents in south Trinidad have been charged with selling water illegally.
But as residents long for water from dry taps, Manning begged them to conserve more on Monday night.
At a People's National Movement meeting held at Witco Desperadoes panyard at Laventille, he admitted Government did not know how long 'this drought will last'.
Manning said that while WASA appealed to the national community to conserve water, the government was begging citizens to do this in the interest of everyone.
"Not because you have the means, you must waste it. We are trying to schedule (the water supply). If some have, some don't have, we are trying to schedule that," he added.
The country's current water woes have to do with a general shortage of water and the "need for all of us to conserve...and we are trying to manage it in such a way that we distribute what little we have as equitably as we can all over Trinidad and Tobago', Manning said. (Trinidad Express)
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