Caribbean warned to brace for drought conditions

The Caribbean is being warned to brace for worsening drought conditions as the region’s dry season begins.

Jamaica’s water agency implemented conservation measures in its Corporate Area effective last evening.

According to the Barbados-based Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN), the region should monitor its water supply and begin conservation methods as the dry spell looks to worsen in the coming months.

Just this week, the National Water Commission in Jamaica announced restrictions to its supply as the country enters its annual dry season. Included in its conservation methods, which began last night, January 30, are widespread nighttime restrictions for parts of the densely populated Corporate Area.

“The entire Caribbean basin should monitor their water supply and adopt conservation measures as much as possible.”

– Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network

Entering the New Year with mixed levels of rainfall for countries, the CDPMN, in its February bulletin, said the impact will play out differently across the region.

With reference to Barbados, the bulletin said that country saw reduced rainfall last year and that another sustained drought could affect its ground water supply before the dry season ends in May.

The CDPMN said the entire region should implement conservation measures to combat possible drought conditions.

The CDPMN said “Similar water availability concerns exist over other islands of the southern and south-eastern Caribbean, Antigua, Cayman Islands, and parts of the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Belize by the end of May. “The entire Caribbean basin should monitor their water supply and adopt conservation measures as much as possible.”

The regional body said the eastern Caribbean experienced mixed conditions for December, with shorter term drought conditions expected in Tobago by the end of April, with numerous others including Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curacao, Belize, Cayman, central Cuba, Dom Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Puerto Rico, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent, Sint Maarten/St Martin, Trinidad and the US Virgin Islands also at risk

Long-term drought conditions could affect several countries including Barbados, Jamaica and St Vincent.

Long-term drought conditions, lasting up to the end of May, is evolving in Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, eastern Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Trinidad and Tobago.

It “might possibly develop or continue” in other locations with the exception of the north west Bahamas, French Guiana, eastern Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. “Areas ending up in long term drought by the end of May , may experience significantly reduced water levels in large reservoirs, large rivers, and groundwater during the dry season.”