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Drought intensifies: Authorities call for water conservation

Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020. 1:32 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The National Meteorological Service (NMS) of Belize is calling for Belizeans at all levels to conserve water as drought conditions in the country intensify due to below-average rainfall.

The NMS made a statement this morning explaining that the seasonal rainfall forecast for April to September 2020 is showing a probability of drier than usual conditions across much of the country, with some exceptions.

“Driest conditions are expected over northern and central areas while rainfall over the Stann Creek and Toledo district is expected to be normal to slightly below normal,” the NMS said. “Given the forecast for below-normal rainfall during the coming months along with the fact that groundwater and surface reservoirs continue low from last year’s drought, the National Meteorological Service maintains a drought warning for the districts of Corozal, Orange Walk Cayo, Belize, and Stann Creek and a drought watch for the Toledo district.”

The NMS said that one of the main reasons for the drought is the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) weather phenomenon, noting that whenever there is an El Nino, which also affected Belize in 2019, there is high confidence that the region will see less than normal rainfall. Notably, this year’s ENSO is expected to remain neutral for the next coming month, creating uncertainty in seasonal weather forecasts.

“An increase in pest and diseases associated with drier than normal conditions is also highly likely along with sporadic fire outbreaks. Additionally, the NMS advises that the situation on the New River may be similar to last year taking into account the rainfall factor alone, therefore constant monitoring is required,” the NMS added.

The NMS and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and Immigration (MFAI) also told farmers and ranchers to take necessary precautions to avoid crop and livestock loss and made several recommendations through
the MFAI website, the Belize Agriculture Health Authority (BAHA), and the International Regional Organization for Plant and Animal Health (OIRSA).



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