The TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO FARMERS UNION (TTFU) has condemned the Water and Sewage Authority (WASA) for increasing rates on water for the purpose for agriculture use.
They have also criticized WASA’s policy for abstraction permits and their denial of permits to farmers who applied within the time frame.
At present the Union says that approximately 1500 acres of rice and crops in the Caroni area are destroyed because of the absence of water to irrigate their crops.
In an interview with News Power Now this morning Interim President of the Farmers Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Shiraz Khan revealed that farmers would abstract water without licenses if forced to.
This morning, the Water and Sewerage Authority issued an advisory stating that abstraction licenses are required for the abstraction of raw water from any surface water (river/pond) or groundwater (well) sources to utilize for farming or commercial purposes.
It stated that the requirement was stipulated under PUC (Public Utilities Commission) Orders 77, 78, 79 and 83.
The PUC has since been superseded by the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC).
It explained that the licensing requirements had been in effect since 1997 and the associated charges are currently 10 cents per cubic meter (220 imperial gallons) for registered farmers and a minimum charge of $120.00 if less than 333 cubic meters per month is used; as well as 36 cents per cubic meter for any other type of use.
It advised that the license had to be applied for through WASA’s Water Resources Agency, Eastern Main, Barataria.
It noted that the Ministry of Food Production, as well as the Agricultural Society of Trinidad and Tobago (ASTT), were also mindful of the need for farmers to obtain licenses for the abstraction of water and has been advising farmers accordingly.