JAM | May 27, 2023

Hydrological drought identified in eastern Jamaica

/ Our Today

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For the first time in eight years, some parts of eastern Jamaica are experiencing a hydrological drought that has resulted in low water levels in rivers, streams, and reservoirs.

Matthew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, gave the update yesterday (May 26). He listed the St Thomas, Portland, and St Mary as the parishes mainly affected.

The island previously had a meteorological drought which is based on the degree of dryness or rainfall deficit facing the country. However, the situation has worsened in some areas, leading to a hydrological drought.

“The rivers in the East have been noticeably lower than normal because they are rain-fed, thus they respond to rainfall fluctuations and the meteorological conditions and essentially mimic the same in their flow rate. They flow faster and recede faster because the rock type in the East is largely volcanic, along with less infiltration and much runoff,” explained Samuda.

He added that this has a severe impact on potable water systems in the parishes and is a serious issue.

According to the minister, the last time Jamaica experienced a hydrological drought was during the 2014-2015 dry period.


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