There is growing concern about the declining levels of rainfall so far this year, which have triggered the activation of the National Drought Management Committee to assess the situation.
The island, however, is not presently experiencing a drought, insisted Matthew Samuda, the Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with responsibility for environment and climate change.
“We are monitoring the (water) systems very closely. We are not in (a) drought, but the declining rainfall is a concern, so we will manage it very carefully,” he advised.
Samuda made the statement in the Senate on Friday.
According to the minister, over the past 60 days there have been noticeable reductions of between 10 and 30 per cent in the rainfall levels recorded across a number of parishes.
Based on that finding, Samuda said the Meteorological Service of Jamaica has projected that there is a 35 per cent risk that this trend could continue over the coming 90 days.
If that projection materialises, then a drought is likely.
It is against that background why the National Drought Management Committee is being convened at this time.
“The Hermitage (Dam water) system is currently just under 70 per cent, and the Mona (Reservoir) system is just under 80 per cent, so we (are) not in any concern yet,” outlined Samuda relative to water supply in metropolitan Kingston and St Andrew.
“However, to be pre-emptive, I’ve gotten clearance from the prime minister to convene the National Drought Management Committee to start planning, should the weather trends continue,” stated the minister.