There is the possibility that there are more challenges ahead for farmers as a drought watch is out for Belize. But Belize isn’t the only country facing potential, and in some cases, serious effects of drought. The Caribbean Drought and Precipitation Monitoring Network which was launched in January 2009 under the Caribbean Water Initiative, CARIWIN, and which aims to increase the capacity of Caribbean countries to deliver equitable and sustainable Integrated Water resources Management, issued a drought bulletin earlier this month.
CARIWIN recommends that water conservation measures continue as much as possible, particularly across the eastern Caribbean and Jamaica, as below normal rainfall is likely across much of the region for the next three months and leading into the 2015 dry season. It also gave rainfall summary for the months of May, June and July in the eastern Caribbean.
The rainfall was recorded as normal to below normal. The bulletin details that, and we quote, “Trinidad, Tobago, St. Kitts, Anguilla, St. Maarten and St. Croix were normal; Grenada, St. Lucia and Dominica severely dry; and Barbados, St. Vincent and Antigua moderately dry. Conditions in Guyana ranged from moderately wet in the northwest to exceptionally dry in the east. Aruba was moderately dry while Puerto Rico was normal. Conditions in Jamaica ranged from normal in the west to moderately dry in the east, but Grand Cayman was abnormally dry. Conditions in Cuba ranged from severely dry in the west to normal in the east. Belize was abnormally dry in the west and moderately dry in the east,” end of quote.
In the bulletin, CARIWIN also outlines the probability for impactful drought stating that it is unlikely to happen in the northern part of the Caribbean but is “increasingly likely in the south”. In fact, in this month’s update, the bulletin indicates that there is imminent drought over Dominica, Martinique, St. Vincent, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago and northern Guyana.
Belize is highlighted in yellow and is still on a drought watch. The watch may extend into next year as according to CARIWIN, EL Nino, which is associated with a band of warm ocean water temperatures that periodically develops off the Pacific coast of South America, will manifest itself throughout the remainder of 2014, likely with less than normal rainfall during the remainder of the wet season and into the 2015 dry season. El Nino can roil agricultural markets as farmers contend with drought or too much rain.