Impacts on Sectors

Impacts from the 2009-2010 event ranged from reduction in crop yields, low reservoir levels and reduced streamflows, significant increases in the number of bushfires and acreage burned, to a significant number of landslides on overexposed slopes with the return of the rains (Farrell et al. 2010; see also Table 20.1). Farrell et al. (2010) further noted that in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, hydropower production fell by 50 percent in the first quarter of 2010. The climate and health assessment prepared for the Government of Dominica and published in 2016 (Government of Dominica 2016) cited poor storage and treatment of water to mitigate drought as contributors to the proliferation of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the vector culpable for the transmission of dengue, chikungunya, and Zika across and within sectors. Similar circumstances led to gastrointestinal diseases in Jamaica (Table 20.1). Refer to Farrell et al. (2010) for more detailed impacts of the 2009-2010 event.

The impacts of the 2014-2016 episode were quite similar, with extreme results in some cases. By September 2014, reservoirs in Antigua were empty

TABLE 20.1

Socioeconomic Impacts Due to Drought During 2014 to 2016

Socioeconomic Sector

2014-2016 Impacts

Agriculture

  • • Decrease in agricultural production reported in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago
  • • Reports of increased food prices in Haiti
  • • Increase in plant pests and diseases in Antigua and Barbuda
  • • Losses of livestock in Jamaica
  • • Reports of an increase in destructive bushfires in Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago

Water

  • • Water shortages reported in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago (forcing water rationing)
  • • Potworks Dam in Antigua was only 10 percent full by the end of 2014, and by the end of 2015, consumption of desalinated water was greater than 90 percent, compared with the normal of 60 percent

Energy

• Energy produced by hydroelectric plants down by 15 percent in Jamaica

Health

  • • Gastroenteritis in Barbados as a result of improper water storage practices
  • • Hot spell warning issued in Trinidad with an advisory for implications to human health

Tourism

• Tourism industry crippled by water crisis in Tobago, with many hotel cancellations due to water shortages

Sources: The Anguillian 2015, Government of Belize 2016, Nation News 2016, Caribbean 360 2014, 2015, 2016; CIMH Caribbean Drought Bulletins; http://rcc.cimh.edu.bb/climate- bulletins/drought-bulletin/, Jamaica Observer 2014a, 2014b; Jamaica Observer 2015.

and water availability in Jamaica was a significant issue. In Georgetown, Guyana's Shelter Belt location, 21,000 persons were affected by limited potable water, and the island of St. Kitts introduced island-wide water rationing for the first time in its history during 2015 (personal communication, Dennison Paul, Acting General Manager of the St. Kitts Water Services Department [WSD], 2016).

In the agriculture sector in 2015, crop production in Belize (inclusive of sugar cane and citrus fruits) declined, with export losses estimated in the millions of dollars. The drought conditions also forced the cancellation of the annual Mango Array & Tropical Fruit Festival in British Virgin Islands (personal communication, Mr. Bevin Braithwaite, Chief Agricultural Officer, British Virgin Islands). Barbados Water Authority (BWA) indicated that increases in irrigation contributed to severe water shortages in some communities across the island (BWA 2015).

 
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