TAIPEI, Taiwan: – Water management officials in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are considering rationing water for longer hours as the nation moves into the fourth month of a drought that is affecting the Caribbean region.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said meteorological officials have projected that the current weather pattern, the worst drought to affect the country since 1987, will continue for at least two more months.
He met with Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA) officials on Tuesday and said the state-owned company is considering shutting off the water supply in “critical areas” from 8:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The CWSA has already begun to shut off the water supply in some parts of the country at various times of the day.
Gonsalves said the CWSA “has been doing a fine job”, adding that most of the nation’s water supply systems were “pretty okay”, even as he projected problems in some areas if there is no substantial rainfall soon.
“It is worse than the worst dry season we have had in living memory. The worst one was in 1987. This one is far worse and is likely to continue for another two months.”
He said that communities between Calliaqua and Vermont, including the Marriaqua Valley, will have “problems”.
“It is in that area that we are going to have about 40 per cent of the consumption of the water. In fact, we have had to use some of the water coming from Jennings to address some of the coastal areas, which would normally get from another system.”
Gonsalves said while SVG was not as badly affected as St. Lucia and Grenada, Vincentians needed to conserve water.
“St. Lucia and Grenada want to get water from us but we don’t have any spare to give them now. Because we have to keep what we have and as the situation gets more difficult over the next two months, CWSA has to take other kinds of precautionary measures,” he said on radio Tuesday night.
He told citizens not to wash vehicles at public standpipes nor water lawns and said the Building Roads and General Service Authority (BRAGSA) will address leakage problems at government buildings.
He said bush fires were a serious problem, with one at the E.T. Joshua Airport resulted in the wastage of about 20, 000 gallons of water. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“We really have to look for people who are starting these bush fires and punish them. Because the fire brigade goes, puts out the fire, wastes a lot of water and people go scotch free,” he said.