Caribbean Islands: Water Crisis a Growing Problem

On Tuesday, official sources stated that the Caribbean islands are currently experiencing a water crisis due to changing rainfall patterns and droughts, rapid urbanization, water-intensive tourism and weak governance of water infrastructure.

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Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago is experiencing the worst drought in its recent history and residents are subject to water restrictions until at least the end of June, with fines for anyone who violates the rules, The Conversation website reported.

Similarly, Dominica, famous for its mountain rainforests, is experiencing a significant decline in freshwater resources and increasingly frequent water shortages.

In Grenada, known as the Spice Island, drought is affecting water systems throughout the country.

#CARIBBEAN: Islands in the region face a water crisis and and their governments are warning that water scarcity may become the new norm. Within the past five years, every island in the region has experienced some sort of water scarcity. pic.twitter.com/NNr75RfCiM

— CaribbeanNewsNetwork (@caribbeannewsuk)
May 13, 2024

Jamaica also faces water restrictions and has had to resort to water cuts in recent years, limiting availability to a few hours per day in some areas.

St. Vincent and St. Kitts has had to resort to rationing and Barbados has experienced several water bans in recent years.

Recent data show that the Caribbean is one of the most water-scarce regions in the world for this essential substance for human activity and public health.

Changes in rainfall patterns and droughts are putting pressure on Caribbean water supplies, but demand is also outstripping supply as one of the world’s most rapidly urbanizing regions.

Approximately three-quarters of the Caribbean population lives in cities and at the same time increased industrialisation and commercialisation of agriculture has degraded water quality and, in some cases, encroached on sensitive catchment areas, affecting the soil’s capacity to retain water.

Increasing demand and changes in annual rainfall patterns are affecting the recharge capacity of aquifers or groundwater.

Unregulated groundwater abstraction can also worsen the problem.

Worsening extreme weather conditions, such as hurricanes and floods, can damage infrastructure and cause prolonged outages and costly repairs in this, the world’s second most disaster-prone area.

The islands face frequent earthquakes, landslides, devastating hurricanes and other destructive storms.

Also, as global temperatures and sea levels rise, the risk of extreme weather and storm surges causing erosion, flooding and saltwater pollution increases.

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