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Relief for Jamaican farmers as drought conditions ease

Jamaican farmers can breathe a sigh of relief as recent rains have helped ease the drought affecting the island for the past few months.

Recent rains have helped to ease the drought conditions affecting farmers.
(Photo: ccafs.cgiar.org)

The drought severely impacted farm lands and devastated crops, while ultimately spurring an increase in prices for much produce.  It also resulted in severe water shortages across the island, particularly in the Corporate Area.

However, the extended period of rainfall, customary to the island’s wet October period, has resulted in a reversal of drought conditions and an increase in water levels at the Mona Reservoir and Hermitage Dam which serve the Corporate Area.

“So, we are sufficiently fitted with capacity. Now, we have to treat with the transmission lines and ensure that the maintenance and the management of our systems are at the appropriate standard.”

– Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Pearnel Charles

Both facilities are nearing capacity, according to Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Pearnel Charles. The Hermitage Dam is at 387.2 million gallons, or 95 per cent of its capacity, while the Mona Dam is at 661.3 million gallons or just above 80 per cent.“So, we are sufficiently fitted with capacity. Now, we have to treat with the transmission lines and ensure that the maintenance and the management of our systems are at the appropriate standard,” Charles said at a handover of a water storage system in St Andrew parish yesterday.

Produce shortage caused by the drought resulted in increased prices for consumers.
(Photo: agricarib.org)

Jamaica had been experiencing drier than normal conditions for much of the year, leaving many customers of the National Water Commission, especially in urban areas, with little or no water for extended periods.

The shortage was exacerbated by widespread road works being undertaken across the Corporate Area, which led to additional disruptions to the supply of water.