The Barbados based Caribbean Drought Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN) has placed countries on alert for possible drought like conditions during the dry season. Based on the varying patterns of rainfall observed during December, the CDPMN is advising that the impacts of the dry season will play out differently across the Region. Citizens are being urged to monitor water levels and adopt water conservation practices during this period.
Surface, soil wetness and stream and river flow is expected to decrease across much of the region by the end of March 2020, especially across The ABC Islands, Barbados, Guadeloupe, and eastern Puerto Rico.
January to March may be drier than normal across Belize, The Bahamas and Guyana as rainfall totals and the number of wet days decrease.
According to the CariSAM Bulletin (January 2020 Issue) by the end of the 2020 dry season drought conditions could be a challenge in farming especially where water supply is sourced from larger reservoirs, large rivers or groundwater, affecting much of Belize, The Cayman Islands, central Cuba, central and southern Dominican Republic, St. Kitts and Nevis, Barbados, Grenada, The ABC Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.
Farmers are encouraged to have an alternate source of water especially for the peak of the dry season (February – April). Water conservation techniques such as mulching and drip irrigation should be practiced. Farmers are encouraged to irrigate in the early morning – where the evaporation rate will be lowest. Use of drought tolerant varieties and providing ample shade and water for livestock are also recommended.