Photo: Courtesy of mblach
According to Garth Saunders, CEO of the Central Water and Sewerage Authority (CWSA), the eastern Caribbean territories of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, Grenada, and Barbados are suffering from water shortages as a result of the current dry spell and the negative impact of La Soufriere's volcanic eruption.
Saunders reports that the Saint Lucia Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) has begun water rationing in the Southern Choiseul district and is also trucking water to customers in affected villages (searchlight.vc).
Saint Vincent lost four Red Zone water systems due to volcanic ash and pyroclastic flow contamination from the eruption of La Soufriere volcano. The remaining eight water sources are now being taxed much more heavily. The increased demand has resulted in daily planned interruptions on the Montreal and Dalaway systems (searchlight.vc). These interruptions affect several villages in the southern part of the island (searchlight.vc).
In Grenada, the National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) is conducting nightly water rationing on the Munich and Mardi Gras water systems and daytime and nightly interruptions on the Petit Etang water system (searchlight.vc). NAWASA warns citizens on its Facebook page that "the current situation is likely to change without notice" (searchlight.vc) and reminds its consumers that they have a personal responsibility to store appropriate quantities of water (searchlight.vc).
Also impacted by volcanic ash from La Soufriere's eruption, the Barbados Government announced that the island's water deficit would now have to be made up by importing water from both Guyana and Dominica (searchlight.vc).
Saunders points out that the region's current water deficit follows last year's historic regional drought that produced water supply scarcity and rationing in many Caribbean-island nations, including Jamaica, "the land of wood and water" and Dominica, "the land of many rivers" (searchlight.vc).
As a result of these water shortages, Saunders calls for the Caribbean governments and people to rethink the value of water, be willing to investigate a variety of safe water sources, and be open to paying the additional monthly sums necessary to stave off water deficits.