Droughts in SVG
Our Readers' Opinions
May 31, 2024

Droughts in SVG

EDITOR: A drought is a period of time when an area or region experiences below- normal precipitation.

Droughts are increasing across the globe as a result of climate change, and, in St. Vincent and the Grenadines we have been experiencing frequent droughts which is wreaking havoc on our lives and the environment. Bigger and developing countries are burning a lot of fossil fuels which is accelerating climate change and causing an increase of droughts, affecting us in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. According to a CNN news article, the Earth in 2023 was 1.48 degrees Celsius warmer than in pre-industrial times. The article further states that scientists are concerned that the world is moving closer to longer term warming to 1.5 degrees.


The hardest hit sectors as a result of droughts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are the water sector and the agriculture sector. Water rationing is increasing in homes, schools, and businesses which is causing frustration for consumers. In some homes, it is difficult to get water for domestic purposes for example showering, cooking, and washing during a drought. Crops need a lot of water for photosynthesis, and live stock require grass for survival. Without water, grass would wilt, causing live stock to die. Live stock are also under pressure from heat stress during a drought. A shortage of crops and live stock would cause food prices to sky rocket making consumers have to dig deeper into their pocket. It would also cause a shortage of crops being exported which would mean less foreign exchange coming into the country. Hydro electricity is produced from generators driven by turbines that convert the potential energy of falling or fast flowing water into mechanical energy. Lack of rainfall would cause streams and rivers to dry up which would mean that we have to depend on fossil fuel for electricity, resulting in high electricity bills. During a drought, soil would get extremely dry, less moisture in the soil makes it easier for soil particles to be blown away which can cause an increase of respiratory illness. A shortage of water can also cause social unrest. According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian residents of Kernahan Trace, Cunupia blocked off part of chin chin road protesting a lack of water. https://www.guardian.co.tt/news/kernahan-trace-residents-protest-over-water-6.2.1938756.e8fc97d182

Here are some tips for adapting to droughts:

• Households can get water tanks and plastic barrels to supply their water during a drought.

Ensure that plastic barrels are properly covered to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

• Farmers can use drought resistance seeds and plant C4 crops. C4 plants are those whose method of photosynthesis is adapted to hotter and drier climates, for example, corn.

Farmers can also apply irrigation systems on their farm and use green houses.

• Drink lots of water and keep cool during a drought.

• Wear a face mask if a lot of soil particles is blowing from the wind.

• More investment in renewable energy is required because during a drought we cannot depend on hydroelectricity which would cause electricity bills to be high. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 80% of our electricity is from petroleum, 18% hydro, and approximately 2% solar.

• The exploration of clean ground water is urgently needed.

• Conservation of the forest is paramount. Trees release water vapour into the air in a process called transpiration. They release extra water in the form of water vapour from small holes of their leaves known as stomata, that water vapour rises in the atmosphere and form new rain clouds, the water vapour returns to earth in the form of rain.

Climate change would continue to cause more droughts in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for many years to come. More houses, schools, and hotels are being constructed, hence the reason why we need to ensure that there is adequate supply of water, to prevent our tanks from going empty. Are we in St. Vincent and the Grenadines prepared for future droughts?

Kimani Wiseman