For almost the entire year the island of Jamaica has been experiencing a serious drought. The normally rainy months of April, May and October proved to be fruitless and with scarce rainfall too short and infrequent to mention. Even more disappointing was the peak of the hurricane season, even though I'm glad we didn't get a hurricane, but also we didn't get not even one good tropical wave to replenish the reservoirs and quench the thirst of the parched land! The Agricultural Minister announced that this is the worst drought the island has experienced in the past twenty years!
This drought has already begun to take its toll on the island, especially here in the Corporate area and even more so where I live. I have been experiencing water lock-offs since about June of this year, At first I used to loose piped water at about 10:00pm every night until e:00 the following morning, but things have now taken a turn for the worse. Now the water is being locked off as early as 7:30pm! And there is ominous news that as the drought progresses water restrictions will only increase, which would mean that customers will be seeing only a few hours of piped water per day.
However the far reaching consequences of this all island drought is not limited to just our individual pipelines, but the Agricultural sector too is feeling the effects if this drought being caused by what the scientist call El Nino. The longer this phenomenon continues our water supply, agriculture, livestock, and our normal day to day lives will continue to be placed into even more grave danger.
The National Worthless Commission... I mean National Water Commission (NWC), even though they cannot be blamed for the long term effects of this drought still needs to shoulder the blame along with the Jamaican Governments for the inadequate water supply the nation is facing. It seems that quite a few of the islands damns, especially the Hermitage Damn, which supplies the Kingston Metropolitan area have suffered reduced capacity over the past years due to silt. This reduced capacity coupled with increase population and businesses has further reduced the ability of these damns to collect and store enough water especially for times like these. However, our governments and NWC over the years did not see it prudent to increase our water storage capacity by dredging and/or increasing the number of reservoirs across the island, especially the city of Kingston.
It seems we all now need to take a backward... or I should say a forward step, to erect tanks and catchment facilities at our homes in order to ensure we have a fresh supply of water at our homes. Right now i think a meeting is in order at the half dead complex that i live to amend the Strata agreement to allow individuals to erect personal tanks, or for the strata to erect communal tanks for the complex. At this rate I will be living from bottle to bottle for my water supply and that just can't work! It's a serious state the country is in and even hotter, drier days are ahead as this El Nino drought drags on.
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