Jamaica devising strategies to deal with drought

first_imgThe Jamaican government is giving consideration to convening the National Drought Committee to devise strategies to be employed should the island be forced into a widespread drought situation.Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, made the disclosure during a statement in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.Below average rainfall He informed that the trend of below-average rainfall for the island continued through to the secondary rainfall season, which started in May, and reports for that month indicate that Portland and St. Elizabeth have received less rainfall than their long-term averages.He noted that although St. Mary, St. Thomas and St. Catherine also fell into that category at the end of April, the burst of showers at the start of May was able to reverse the situation in those parishes.Special concern re PortlandMinister Vaz said that based on analysis of the data covering the April/May period, the parish of Portland is being singled out for special concern as, for the second month running, the index suggests early stages of drought with moderate dryness.He noted that the north-eastern parishes, including Portland, are the source of most of the water that serves the Corporate Area from the Hermitage Dam.“Data for June is still being analyzed; however, the preliminary data suggest that the drying trend has been maintained for most of the country, and the forecast for the next few months is causing some concern for a few parishes as we navigate the summer season,” Vaz said. “These conditions could further deteriorate to be considered severely, extremely or exceptionally dry.”Vaz informed that the National Water Commission (NWC) has indicated that storage levels at the Hermitage Dam have been falling gradually over the past few months, with the system now at approximately 52 per cent of capacity. Mona is nearly full.Although the NWC has not instituted strict measures to restrict usage by their customers, Vaz said this will inevitably be required if the forecast for below-normal rainfall holds true through the summer months.last_img

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