British Virgin Islands on drought watch with dramatic drop in rainfall
With just 3.5 inches of rain for the first half of the year, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has joined the growing list of Caribbean countries under drought watch. A drought watch means that a drought is possible and governments are encouraged to take action to implement drought management plans which include the protection of water sources, implementation of conservation practices, and monitoring and repair of infrastructure to minimize water loss as a result of leakage. According to the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), of the total 3.5 inches of rainfall for the January to June period, the majority occurred in January and February.
That is a significant reduction when compared to the same period last year when the British Overseas Territory saw 13.5 inches of rainfall. “The foliage is significantly dry, creating difficulty for farmers in finding suitable pasture for their animals. The limited water supply is causing considerable reliance on subsidized feed which has to be imported. Government is examining ways to assist local farmers,” chief agricultural officer Bevin Braithwaite said, adding that the drought also forced the cancellation of the annual Mango Array & Tropical Fruit Festival. The Virgin Islands Fire and Rescue Service has, however, not reported any significant increase in bush fires.