The St Lucia government has declared a “water-related emergency” as some communities, particularly in the north, continue to deal with dry weather conditions affecting water supplies in the Caribbean island.
The government has advised citizens, particularly those in the north, to be “extremely prudent with their use of water and to avoid wasting this very precious resource”.
The St Lucia Meteorological Services (SLMS) said that the acute shortage of rainfall, coupled with the diminishing reserves in the John Compton Dam had meant that the northern section of the island had officially entered a drought situation.
It said that the water levels in the dam were currently 30 inches below the spillway.
“The St Lucia Met Services, using 35 years of monthly rainfall data, has calculated that the north of the country is experiencing a meteorological drought based on a value known as the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI). The Water Resources Management Agency (WRMA) has also reported that the average river flow rates are currently within the rates recorded for historical dry seasons in the month of March,” SLMS said.
It said the forecast from the Met Office suggests that the rainfall outlook for the next three months is normal to below normal for this time of year.
“Under the provisions of the water-related emergency, residents are asked to cease the use of potable water for non-potable uses. This means that potable water or drinking water obtained from WASCO (Water and Sewage Company), must not be used for activities like washing of vehicles or watering lawns or gardens. Also, any activities that may cause contamination of water sources, such as the washing of vehicles in rivers, are strictly prohibited,” the release stated.
“WASCO has embarked on measures to deal with this situation, including repairing and bringing back online water intakes that had been decommissioned due to damage and activating mobile water treatment plants that may be rapidly deployed where needed. However, there will be need for some rationing of supplies in the coming weeks and the company will make announcements about its rationing schedule.”