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Dominican Republic’s Worst Drought in Twenty Years
Dominican Repúblic, 5/15/2015

The Dominican Republic is experiencing one of it its worst droughts in twenty years due to a lack of rainfall since 2014. Currently, water reserves are in an even more critical situation.

According to a report in the digital edition of Nuevo Diario, Martín Meléndez, engineer and hydrology expert from the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (ITEC), explained that the country has not been in such a dire situation since 1997 when "El Niño" resulted in a lack of rainfall.

A report done by the Aqueduct and Sewerage Corporation of Santiago (CORASAAN in Spanish), said Mr. Meléndez, revealed extremely low levels of water in the Taveras Reservoir and stressed that northern sector of the country is in a "very critical" situation where, if it does not rain in the next month, "there will be no water to supply Cibao."

Meléndez said the current water reservoir is at 314 meters and the permissible minimum levels are 320 meters; water levels drop by 10 centimeters a day, therefore, in 30 days, it will dry up if this situation continues.

The drought in the country is obvious to the naked eye, especially in the north where the vegetation is losing its intense green and where they have had multiple forest fires.

According to Mr. Meléndez, the government should declare a state of emergency in order to prevent further water consumption. May is normally a rainy month but the rains have not started yet.

On the other hand, in the Dominican capital, the situation is not as critical, although Luis Salcedo, Deputy Director of Operations for the Aqueduct and Sewerage Corporation of Santo Domingo (CAASD), called it an " extreme drought," comparing it to the one experienced in 1997 and, to a lesser extent, the drought of 2007.

According to Mr. Salcedo, the Valdesia and Higüey dams have 70 million cubic meters of water in storage. He said that, added to the resources of the six aqueducts that supply the Greater Santo Domingo, the water supply is guaranteed until the rains come. Salcedo says the rains are imminent.

Despite this, the CAASD has reduced its daily water production by 25% - some 100 million gallons less each day, a decrease felt in the drinking water supplies to the topographically highest points of Greater Santo Domingo.

To mitigate the consequences of these supply cuts, the company has provided a fleet of tanker trucks that are distributing some 900,000 gallons of water in the most affected areas.

According to Salcedo, the CAASD is in constant contact with the public to urge people to make responsible use of water and not to waste it as they work together to solve the inconveniences caused by the shortage. 


Topic(s):    Soil and water