Caribbean Countries Announce New Measures to Tackle Drought


March 9, 2016




BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Two Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries facing drought situations yesterday announced separate measures to deal with the situation.

The St Lucia Government said, in collaboration with the Water and Sewerage Company Inc (WASCO), it has formulated a comprehensive drought plan for the island that has been used effectively over the past three years.

“Fortunately for us last year, because of the way we went about managing the period [of drought], we fared a lot better than a lot of the islands in the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico, and we were quite pleased that we were able to survive the drought conditions last year so well, because last year was worse than the previous year,” said WASCO’s Managing Director Vincent Hippoltye.

The Government statement noted that records have shown that there has been less rainfall over successive years and that this year St Lucia started with a water deficit.

“The conservation of water is imperative. We will not have enough water for people to do everything that they want. So water that we produce must be used sparingly,” said Hippolyte, adding that predictions indicate that water “is going to be in scarce supply because El Niño is going to strengthen”.

Last month, the Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) placed several regional countries under immediate drought watch or warning for 2016.

“The drought situation remains a major concern for many countries due to the below-normal rainfall recorded during the previous dry and wet seasons, which resulted in a number of countries experiencing water shortages in 2015,” CDEMA said in a statement, adding that drought alerts have been issued by the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology for several countries up to March 2016.

It said drought warnings have been issued for Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, northern Guyana, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and northern Suriname.

Meanwhile, the National Water Commission (NWC) in Jamaica says there is no need for drastic supply restrictions as was the case last year due to improved inflows to the Corporate Area’s two main catchment facilities.

This is despite the country now being in the traditional dry period.

NWC said that the Hermitage Dam is near capacity and as a result, it has increased output at the Constant Spring plant.

But the Commission said it would continue to closely monitor levels at the dam and is expecting the situation to also improve in other sections of the island which were affected by drought last year.





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