The Water Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (WITT) was officially launched on Monday 27 March, 2006 at a breakfast meeting at the Crowne Plaza in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The launch was hosted by the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), with remarks being given by Errol Grimes (CEO, WASA), Dr. Donald C. Peters, President of the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) and the Hon. Penelope Beckles, Minister of Public Utilities and the Environment.
WITT, identified as the first of its kind in the region, will aim to be “a world class institute which will enhance the regional water sector through active research, planning and interactive learning while promoting recognition of the value of the water resource to human development and advocating the use of appropriate technologies and sustainable management practices” – Vision Statement.
The establishment of the WITT will promote:
- A higher turnout of skilled persons from the craft level to the professional;
- An improved capacity to manage traditional and emerging water sector issues;
- A centre for research, education, retooling and retraining, planning, policy evaluation and information transfer;
- An improved capacity for managing Government’s investments in the water sector; and
- An opportunity for extra-mural programmes to facilitate community based learning and education relevant to stakeholders.
The institute will also facilitate various partnerships with local and international training institutions, such as UNESCO-IHE and the University of Waterloo.
Currently, COSTAATT offers an Associate in Applied Science Degree programme in Water Resources Management and Technology. With the establishment of WITT, a BSc. in Water Resource Management and Technology will be offered, along with Certificates and Diplomas in craft skills (e.g. plumbing) and Water Resources Management and Technology. Short courses, seminars and workshops tailored to the Water and Wastewater sectors will be instituted.
Water is a precious yet finite resource. It is vital for sustaining life and by extension, is essential for all our human endeavours. This move by WASA to create an establishment such as the WITT is laudable and very reassuring. WASA has taken the necessary steps to ensure that all aspects of water sector – from plumbing to water and wastewater management – in Trinidad and Tobago improve. Indeed WASA is leading the way for the rest of the region.