The Navet Waterworks was commissioned in 1962, the historic year of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independence. From inception, the waterworks has been a critical life source of the “Industrial South”. The plant was originally designed to supply San Fernando and other outlying districts including Rio Claro, Princes Town, Moruga and Gasparillo.
Like the new nation, Navet developed and expanded its production over the course of time. Within the first two decades of its existence, the plant was extended first in 1966, when its original output of 27,500 m3 (6 m.g.d.) was boosted to 55,000 m3 (12 m.g.d). Ten years later, its output was again increased to 86,400m3 per day (19 m.g.d.)
The entire reservoir area covers 324 hectares (800acres) of land with a capacity of 1,900,000m3 (4.2 billion gallons).
As production at the plant increased, so too did the number of areas is supplied. In time it was to become the major source of water in Trinidad, up until the Caroni Arena project came on stream in 1981.
The road to Navet leads over the undulating hills of the Central Range, through the villages of Longdenville, Caparo and Tabaquite. Apart from these settlements, the way to the reservoir passes through large estates of citrus, sugar cane, cocoa and coffee, interspersed with kilometers of tropical forest and vegetation.
Often no one knows the exact place where a river is born. Hikers and other wildlife enthusiasts may follow a rivers course upstream, but few ever discover the hidden point upland where the river first breaks ground.
Three streams have been dammed to form the Navet Reservoir. These streams flow from the nearby hillsides at Mt. Tamana, Brasso Piedra and Chataigne (the latter so named after the chataigne trees that grow in abundance on its slope).
Although the water at the Navet Reservoir may look as clean and sparkling as any inland lake, its water still requires chemical treatment to make it safe for drinking purposes. Like all of the Authority’s treatment facilities, the Navet Waterworks provides potable water that meets World Health Organization (W.H.O) standards.
The treatment process in use at Navet includes sedimentation, coagulation, filtration and disinfection. Four settling basins are used in the sedimentation process. The water that remains following this process “settled water” is then channeled away to a filter complex, where it seeps through layers of porous material (activated carbon and sand) separating the water from pollutants that may still be present. The final stage of the treatment process is conducted before the water is distributed to customers. It involves the addition of lime and chlorine. These chemicals serve to neutralize the acidity of the water and kill any harmful bacteria which it may contain.
The water is then sent through the Authority’s distribution network to supply households, turn the wheels of industry and improve the quality of life to residents in vibrant South Trinidad.
The reservoir stretches out in several directions, to the foot of the distant hills. It forms an intricate pattern of inlets and coves, some as much as six kilometers (four miles) long. The lush vegetation around the Navet Reservoir is dominated by the Crappo, Guatacare, Carat, Cocorite, Mora and Debiassse trees. The forest, which is considered to be to be a seasonal evergreen forest, provide shelter to a number of animals such as the manicou, lappe, armadillo (tattoo),porcupine, red brocket deer, a number of snakes and different species of birds, which either inhabit or visit the reservoir while on their migratory route.
One cannot forget the caiman that can be found at many of our lakes and lagoons. The inland lake also hosts a wide range of fresh water fish indigenous to the country.