ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Faced with a worsening drought situation in the Caribbean, St. Lucia has announced stringent measures to conserve water while consumers in Dominica are being warned that the situation on the island could get worse.
St. Lucian authorities have issued a “Declaration of Water Related Emergency” and have warned that persons contravening the new measures could face both a fine of not less than EC$3,000 (US$1,110) and to imprisonment of not less than six months.
Among the measures contained in the declaration is a ban on the use of water for watering of gardens, lawns, grounds and farms as well as for supplying ponds, swimming pools “or for use other than normal domestic services such as drinking, cooking, washing, bathing and sanitation”.
The emergency decree said that the measures would be enforced by the Water Resources Management Agency, with the support of the police, and would “remain in effect until further notice”.
In Dominica, the Water and Sewerage Company (DOWASCO) warned consumers that they should conserve water as the levels in the reservoirs continue to drop.
““That is of concern to us. There is a still a large amount of water. What we have been doing is switching various communities to different supplies, managing the system, so that people can realize a little relief from the effects that could arise,” said DOWASCO general manager Bernard Etinoffe.
Head of Communications and Customer Service at DOWASCO, Gwennie Dickson, said the company was anticipating a worsening of the situation.
“Based on what we are hearing from the Met Institute in Barbados, they are forecasting that we will experience severe dryness for some time to come. If it does continue as they forecast it means the water level will definitely get lower and there will not be sufficient pressure to provide water to many communities,” she warned.
However, she said Dominica, which boasts 365 rivers, was still in a position to provide assistance to drought-affected St. Lucia,
“St. Lucia has introduced a water rationing system. We have not gotten to that stage and we hope that we do not get to that stage. They are in discussions with us to purchase water from Dominica and we are looking at how we can assist,” she added.