Caribbean warned to closely monitor water resources as drought continues

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) yesterday urged Caribbean countries to “closely monitor water resources and try to conserve as much as possible, at least until June/July” as the drought situation in the region worsens.

In its Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network Bulletin released here, the CIMH said that there is concern for most of the Caribbean that the short term drought situation can impact agriculture, as well as the flow in small rivers and streams except in the vicinity of Cuba, The Bahamas, Jamaica and Cayman islands.

“For longer-term drought that can impact groundwater, and large reservoirs and rivers, concerns also extend to Jamaica and Cayman Islands. Most of the Caribbean should, therefore, closely monitor water resources and try to conserve as much as possible, at least until June/July,” it said.

The CIMH said that for the current drought situation, Barbados, Martinique, St Lucia, United States Virgin islands (USVI) have seen long term drought developing, while shorter-term drought is seen in northern St Kitts.

It said shorter-term drought situation that lasts until the end of July is evolving in Dominica, French Guiana, Grenada, Martinique, St Martin, St Lucia, Suriname, USVI, while shorter -term drought might possibly develop in Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Antigua, Barbados, much of Belize, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Hispaniola, parts of Puerto Rico, St Kitts, St Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago.

The CIMH said that a weak El Nino is expected to contribute to reduced rainfall up until May.

For the first three months of this year, the CIMH reported, normal to below normal rainfall was experienced in the islands of the Caribbean with Trinidad being “slight to severely dry, Tobago and Antigua moderately dry and Grenada slightly dry”.

It said Barbados was severe to extremely dry; St Vincent and Guadeloupe normal to slightly dry; St Lucia and St Kitts moderate to severely dry, with Martinique extreme to exceptionally dry.

Conditions in the Guiana's ranged from exceptionally dry in northern Guyana and much of French Guiana to normal in north-eastern and southern Guyana and western Suriname.

According to the CIMH, conditions in Jamaica ranged from moderately wet in the west to slightly dry in the north, but Grand Cayman very wet. Northern Bahamas was normal to moderately wet and Belize from severely dry in the east to normal to the north and south.

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