KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 31, CMC – Jamaicans have been told to brace themselves for an extended period of dry weather as a result of the recently ended La Niña weather phenomenon.
During La Niña patterns, water temperatures in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are usually warmer than average and upper-level winds, which tend to tear systems apart, are less hostile. Water temperature departures from average in the Pacific Ocean. This results in decreased cloud production and rainfall in that region.
“We will just be coming out of the La Niña weather phenomenon, where over the last three to four years, we have had the benefit of wetter conditions. The next three to four years we are likely to have the difficulty of dealing with drier conditions. It is why we have been investing at an unprecedented rate,” said Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Matthew Samuda.
Samuda, speaking on a radio programme here, said last year, the government invested four billion dollars (One Jamaica dollar=US$0.008 cents) to upgrade the infrastructure of the National Water Commission (NWC).
But he told radio listeners that even with these investments, the actions of citizens are critical as the island continues to experience extended drought conditions, resulting in dwindling water sources.
Samuda said the critically low water levels at the Mona Reservoir and the Hermitage Dam in Kingston and St. Andrew have again prompted the call for members of the public to practise stringent conservation measures.
“Citizens need to understand, certainly in the eastern end of the island, that the Mona Reservoir is at 32 per cent capacity and the Hermitage (Dam) system is at 37 per cent capacity, so we are in a dire situation,”
Samuda said that the NWC will be enforcing its Prohibition Notice, which became effective on May 26, preventing the use of potable water for non-essential purposes.
“We have put forward these prohibition notices. We are hoping for moral suasion. We will be enforcing, but we are hoping that all citizens will take heed and will hold their neighbours accountable for us,” he said.