JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The annual dry spell typically starts in January and last for three months.
  • Drought conditions for 2014 will not be as harsh as 2013.
  • Projections are for “abnormally wet” conditions in the central part of the island, with normal to above normal conditions in the east.

Jamaicans in most parts of the island can expect less severe drought conditions this year as the country heads into the traditional dry period.

The annual dry spell typically starts in January and last for three months.

Senior Meteorological Technician at the Meteorological Service (Met Office), Glenroy Brown, said that drought conditions for 2014 will not be as harsh as 2013.

Projections are for “abnormally wet” conditions in the central part of the island, with normal to above normal conditions in the east. However, it is expected that western Jamaica will be abnormally dry over the next three months.

“Last year, at this time going into the dry season, we were actually predicting far more severe conditions in terms of drought. This year it seems to be somewhere near the normal drought conditions, so we are not expecting the severe conditions to occur this year, and it seems to be the trend for at least the next three months,” Mr. Brown stated.

He was speaking at a press conference on Thursday, January 9, at the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, to provide information on drought and rainfall predictions for 2014.

Meanwhile, Minister of State in the Ministry, Hon. Ian Hayles, informed that $40 million has been spent so far to repair and improve over 50 water tanks across the country.

He said that in 2013, the National Water Commission (NWC) spent over $160 million on trucking water to communities affected by drought conditions.

“I think this year, within the NWC, we will be developing certain strategies such as having loading bays within the drought-prone areas to see how best we can work with the citizens,” Mr. Hayles said.

The State Minister noted that with the dry conditions predicted for western Jamaica for the next three months, the Ministry will continue to truck water to the affected areas through Rapid Response.

“So, we will be proactive; we can’t solve all the problems at once but we will be proactive in going forward in ensuring that our people can have potable water and where it is not possible, we will be able to truck water working in conjunction with the parish councils,” he stated.