VIRJEE Kameel1 , GASKIN Susan2
1 email@example.com PhD. Candidate Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics McGill University 817 Sherbrooke St W Montreal QC H3A 2K6
2 Assistant Professor Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics McGill University 817 Sherbrooke St W Montreal QC H3A 2K6
The supply of water and sewerage services in developing countries often lacks the service levels that are seen in similar utilities in developed countries. Trinidad is one such example where historically the water supply and sewerage facilities servicing domestic, agricultural and industrial water needs have been less than ideal.
The twin island nation in the eastern Caribbean has a population of 1.3 million and due to significant oil deposits the country is considered a middle income one (World Bank, 1994). Through an act of parliament in 1965, the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was established as an autonomous statutory body to provide the country’s water and sewerage needs. A board of commissioners, appointed by and reporting to the government, oversees the operations of the utility.
The policies which have guided the supply of water to the islands’ inhabitants have varied through time (Mycoo, 1996). During the 1960s WASA was expected to increase piped water supplies to the population of Trinidad and Tobago and ensure that the quality and reliability of the supply were adequate. Water rates were set by the Public Utilities Commission, which, using a rate of return price setting mechanism, allowed for a 7 to 8.5% surplus generation at the utility. Into the 1970s, the policy of guiding water provision in the country shifted to stress universal coverage but with income redistribution through subsidization of water services as well. So, during this period real water rates fell, as they were not adjusted with inflation. Over these decades the finance of the deficit caused by significant capital expansion in line with universal coverage objectives was met through direct transfers from the government exchequer. This was possible largely as a result of the significant windfalls realized during the 1970s international oil crisis...