JM | Mar 3, 2023

With drought situation worsening, Government allots additional J$100 million for response

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (Photo: Tamoy Ashman/ Our Today)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the country is in a meteorological drought that has worsened, resulting in more funds being allocated in rural areas to respond to the issue.

A meteorological drought occurs when the levels of rainfall are low for more than two months, affecting the supply of water. This is particularly the case for rural communities that rely on catchment for their water supply.

While addressing a press briefing today (March 3), Holness said the situation is of concern, but it does not require panic.

“We are being proactive, we are preparing the country and we are trying to bring our citizens into the understanding of the changes that are taking place in our climate and how it will impact your daily lives and social well-being,” said Holness.

The funds will be provided for members of parliament to acquire water trucks, but priority will be given to areas that are greatly affected. These include sections of Clarendon, Westmoreland, St Thomas and St Catherine.

The Government is also working to procure additional water trucks to cover a larger surface area in a timely manner.

Holness shared that, in October 2022, Jamaica began to see a reduction in rainfall that worsened as the months progressed. The situation became concerning, prompting a meeting of the Drought Management Committee to tackle the issue.

If Jamaica continues to experience low levels of rainfall, this could cause the drought situation to further worsen, resulting in a hydrological drought.

(Photo: REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane)

A hydrological drought occurs when the rivers, streams and reservoirs begin to dry up.

“We are not yet experiencing a hydrological drought however, the starting point of that is when your rainfall is persistently low. So a meteorological drought could cause or will cause you to have – if it persists, a hydrological drought situation,” Holness explained.

When the drought situation first arose, the Government allocated J$50 million for response and eight water trucks to deliver supply to dry communities. Now, an additional J$100 million is being allocated.

Sections of Kingston and St Andrew are also experiencing scheduled water lock-offs to conserve supply.

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