Caribbean battling water shortage

Caribbean countries have been implementing various measures to control the use of water as the region experiences a prolonged drought.

From Trinidad and Tobago in the south, to Jamaica in the north, governments and the various utility companies have announced stringent measures ranging from a ban on watering lawns, to washing vehicles as a means of dealing with the low volume of water in reservoirs as a result of the reduced rainfall.

In Trinidad, water police officers have also been deployed to ensure that consumers adhere to the new measures, while in Jamaica, water rationing has become the order of the day.

The Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) has become the latest Caribbean country to announce plans for a water rationing system until there is a significant increase in rainfall.

’As Antigua and Barbuda enters further into a drought, APUA has seen a depletion of the surface water resources that it relies heavily on,’ it said in a statement.

’At our normal rate of consumption, the Potworks Dam, our largest containment is estimated to have enough water to take the country to the end of February if there is not a significant increase in rainfall. The Dunning’s Dam in Bendals is also estimated to follow this trend,’ the APUA said.

Because of this, the APUA said that beginning yesterday, consumers will be supplied with water at scheduled times throughout the day.

’As we go through the drought, APUA is urging the general public to conserve water.’

Last October, Antigua and Barbuda’s Meteorological Services said that below normal rainfall in August was the main factor for the current drought which it described then as being moderate.

Officials have said that the dry weather was being influenced by the weather phenomenon, El Nino.

The National Office of Disaster Services said that on average Antigua and Barbuda goes through a period of low rainfall every three to four years.

It added that in the last 134 years since 1874, the country has experienced 36 occurrences of drought.

In Guyana, Head of the Presidential Secretariat (HPS), Dr Roger Luncheon said that the authorities are monitoring closely the current drought-like conditions associated with the El Nino phenomenon.

He said that the Bharrat Jagdeo government would be pursuing public discussions on the impact of the dry season.

Luncheon said that the availability of irrigation water is significantly threatening certain affected areas and that in the capital, Georgetown, the surface water that provided as much as 50 per cent of potable water consumption is equally threatened.

He said that the use of water would have to be voluntarily reduced and involuntarily in some areas, especially if the situation is prolonged.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture in Guyana said it would continue to aggressively explore all avenues to ensure that farming communities get access to an efficient water supply

Source: Trinidad Express

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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