Impacts from Recent Drought Events—the Case for Enhancing Drought Management in the Caribbean

Because of the limited water resources on most CARICOM SIDS and the fact that all the land area of most CARICOM SIDS is simultaneously impacted by drought, the impacts of drought can be severe, with all socioeconomic sectors being impacted directly by a lack of water or through complex intersectoral interactions.

Declines in Rainfall

For most of the Caribbean, rainfall during the latter part of the 2009 rainy season was below normal and was followed by a drier-than-normal dry season (Farrell et al. 2010). The authors also reported that Caribbean states experienced rainfall totals in the lowest 10 percent, or record lows, between September 2009 and May 2010.

Between May 2010 and early 2014, the Caribbean experienced normal to above-normal rainfall most months. But by the end of 2014, some Caribbean countries (in particular, Jamaica and Antigua) were reporting significant impacts due to the onset of drought conditions. The year 2015 was the driest on record at rainfall stations in many Caribbean islands, including Antigua, Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia (Stephenson et al. 2016). Relief from the drought conditions came in late August/September 2015 at some locations, but by late November, drought conditions were reestablished (CariCOF 2016a). Though some relief finally came to much of the region in June or July 2016, a severely dry August, with record low rainfall in some Caribbean territories, including at three stations in Barbados (CariCOF 2016b), raised fresh concerns.

Drought and Water Crises


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