Home » More than typical river levels in eastern Jamaica – Says Samuda

More than typical river levels in eastern Jamaica – Says Samuda

SOS! More than typical river levels in eastern Jamaica – Says Samuda

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claims that there is an extreme strain on the parish water systems in St. Thomas, Portland, and St. Mary.

Rivers in the eastern parts of the island are notably lower than usual due to the island’s growing drought, which may result in a hydrological drought.


Senator Matthew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Development and Job Creation, issued the grim warning on Friday while providing an update on the local drought situation in the Senate.
From the beginning of the year, the island has been going through a meteorological drought, which is characterized by the predominance of dry weather patterns.


A hydrological drought develops after several months of a meteorological drought when low groundwater levels become apparent, notably in streams, reservoirs, and rivers.

In his speech on Friday, Samuda said that the drought is having a serious impact on the parishes of St. Thomas, Portland, and St. Mary.



Despite the fact that the nation has undergone a meteorological drought throughout the recent dry season, he explained, “there was not a major impact on rivers and the groundwater levels to signal a national hydrological drought—something we haven’t seen since 2014-2015 season.



The minister said, “But, the rivers in the east have been considerably lower than typical since they are rain-fed, so they respond to rainfall changes and the weather conditions and essentially imitate the same in their flow rates.

He said, “They flow and retreat faster because the predominant rock type in the east is volcanic, together with little infiltration and considerable runoff.


The fact that “so many of our parish water systems between St. Thomas, Portland, and St. Mary are under such severe strain,” in the words of Samuda, “should offer an indication” of this problem.

Furthermore, he added that “it’s a big issue” and stated that the circumstances in certain parishes have had a “great influence on our portable water systems.”



The government has put in place a number of mitigating measures as the drought conditions deteriorate, such as allocating $20 million to buy and distribute black tanks to towns affected by the weather condition.

Samuda provided a breakdown of the purchases on Friday, stating that a total of 454 (200-gallon) and 260 (400-gallon) water tanks were purchased with the $20 million, or around 11 tanks per electoral seat.



He said that the enlarged scheme, which aims to deliver 50,000 tanks, will adhere to a procedure to preserve responsibility.

The National Water Commission (NWC), in the meantime, has been enforcing a restriction notice since it went into effect on Friday.



According to the notification, it is now illegal to waste water or consume an excessive amount of the resource for non-essential activities.


Those who violate the order risk fines or up to 30 days in jail.


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