Belize lacks a national drought plan

A drought watch is in effect for northern and southeastern Belize, according to an April 2018 bulletin released by the Caribbean Drought & Precipitation Monitoring Network (CDPMN).

The bulletin said that, “Water resources in the ABC Islands [Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire] and north and south-east Belize should also be monitored for the possibility of a developing drought.” This time, Central Belize was not included in the drought watch.

It also cited concerns that exist for both long and short term drought over the Guianas, in particular northern Suriname.

“With Cuba and Antigua being relatively dry over the past few months, water resources should be monitored for long term drought that can affect groundwater and large catchments, up until the end of the dry season at least,” the report said.

The drought report looked at the long-term drought situation, for up to May 2018, just before the start of the rainy season. The accompanying map was published in the Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum’s drought outlook to June 2018.

The latest report said that conditions in Belize ranged from extremely wet in the west to slightly wet in the south and moderately wet in the north.

Back in 2015, the El Niño phenomenon, which suppressed storm activity in the Caribbean, led to very dry conditions which caused “severe drought” in northern and western Belize that cost Belize nearly $30 million. Belize also reported hotter than normal temperatures during the summer months.

Belize does not have a national drought plan that would detail the official response to drought alerts, watches and warnings.

The Reporter