Extreme drought in the Dominican Republic leaves significant losses in the agricultural sector
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 2019 (IICA). The few precipitations recorded since mid-2018 and the beginning of 2019 have caused a severe drought, which has affected the agricultural sector, and the population in general. The most affected areas by the phenomenon are the south, southwest and northwest regions of the country, which were declared on alert by the National Meteorological Office of the Dominican Republic (ONAMET).
The low rainfall in these regions has caused devastating effects on natural resources and agricultural production, due to the lack of water, with livestock being one of the most affected sectors. According to official data from the Ministry of Agriculture, about 1,200 cows have died in the Northwest region, which causes a significant deficit in milk production. On the other hand, the main rivers of the country, such as Yaque del Norte, present alarming low levels in their flows.
In view of this situation, the Dominican Government has instructed the institutions related to water resources and meteorology to intensify efforts to mitigate the effects caused by the drought. The Ministry of Agriculture reported that more than RD$150 million have been invested to mitigate the effects of the drought in the agricultural sector.
The National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INDRHI) informed that it will take concrete actions in the face of the critical situation facing the reservoirs. With regards to human consumption, the Santo Domingo Aqueduct and Sewer Corporation (CAASD) indicated that the drought has caused water production to drop from 440 million gallons per day to 369 million. Given this scenario, the CAASD announced measures for the supply of the resource, while calling on the population to make a rational and responsible consumption of water.
The rainfall deficit which caused this drought is exacerbated by the effects of El Niño, a climate pattern characterized by intense heat, and whose predictions aim to increase globally, manifesting in more adverse effects in different regions of the world.
More information: Gina Rosario, Gina Rosario, Specialist in Natural Resources, Agriculture and Climate Change, firstname.lastname@example.org