Gov't working on plan for trucking water to residents affected by drought
Minister Without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Daryl Vaz is urging his parliamentary colleagues to prepare a schedule for the trucking of water to residents in drought-stricken parishes this summer.
Vaz’s advice came against the background of worsening drought conditions in Portland as well as a forecast from the Meteorological Service for increased dryness in for the parishes of St Catherine, Clarendon and St Mary.
“Based on the analysis of the data covering the April/May period, the parish of Portland is singled out for special concern as for the second month running, the index suggests early stages of drought with moderate dryness,” said Vaz in a statement to Parliament on Tuesday.
He added that this level of dryness is abnormal for the parish and north-eastern parishes including Portland contribute significantly to the water supply in the Corporate Area.
“I am suggesting to all MPs to work with the municipal corporations to get a comprehensive water schedule for trucking of water so that it can be examined by the local government ministry for funding,” he asserted.
Vaz, who is also the Member of Parliament for Portland West, said he has already developed a schedule for the trucking of water to residents for the entire parish for the period July to September.
He said funding was being sought from the ministries of Economic Growth and Job Creation, as well as Local Government and Community Development.
In his statement to the Lower House, Vaz pointed out that the Meteorological Service carries out an analysis of rainfall for each parish on a monthly basis to ascertain if the island is experiencing drought conditions.
According to Vaz, during the summer, and traditionally drier months of the year, drought conditions are declared when the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) indicates values that suggest moderately dry conditions.
These conditions could further deteriorate to be considered severely, extremely or exceptionally dry.
At the same time, the National Water Commission (NWC) has indicated that the storage levels at the Hermitage Dam have been falling gradually with its capacity now at 52 per cent.
The Mona Reservoir is nearly full.
“Although they [NWC] have not yet instituted strict measures to restrict usage by their customers, this will inevitably be required if the forecast for below-normal rainfall holds true through the summer months,” he added.
Forecasts for July to September 2018
Ranking the parishes across the island by level of dryness as at May 31, 2018 shows:
Moderately Dry Portland
Abnormally Dry St Mary
Near Normal St Catherine
Kingston & St Andrew
Abnormally Wet St Thomas
Moderately Wet Trelawny