Grenada Imposes Water Restrictions as Drought Conditions Worsen

Grenada implements water usage restrictions due to severe drought-like conditions, effective May 12, 2024. The restrictions aim to conserve water resources and ensure equitable distribution, with violators facing fines and/or imprisonment.

Nitish Verma
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Grenada Imposes Water Restrictions as Drought Conditions Worsen

Grenada Imposes Water Restrictions as Drought Conditions Worsen

Grenada has announced the implementation of stringentwater usage restrictionseffective Sunday, May 12, 2024, as the country grapples with severe drought-like conditions. The National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) is taking decisive action to conserve water resources and ensure an equitable distribution of water during this critical period.

Why this matters: The water crisis in Grenada has significant implications for the country's economy, food security, and public health. If not managed effectively, it could lead to widespread shortages, crop failures, and increased risk of waterborne diseases.

The water restrictions, not seen in Grenada for the past 14 years, aim to prioritize water supply for essential services such as schools, health centers, medical facilities, and homes. Under the Water Services Regulations SRO 41 of 1993, NAWASA has the authority to regulatewater usageduring periods of scarcity induced by drought or other factors.

The key restrictions include limitations on irrigation and watering of gardens, lawns, and grounds; restrictions on washing roadways, pavements, paths, garages, out-rooms, or vehicles using hoses; prohibitions on filling swimming pools and ponds; and any other activities deemed by NAWASA to require a significant or excessive quantity of water. Anyone found in breach of the regulations can face fines of up to EC$500 or imprisonment of up to 1 month.

NAWASA's in-house Legal Counsel, Dennies Burris, emphasized the seriousness of the situation, stating, "If you are found to be non-compliant with this regulation, you may be charged and the penalty can be as high as EC$500. Failure to pay the penalty can result in imprisonment for one month. Nawasa takes this matter seriously and does not wish to enforce regulations through imprisonment. Therefore, we kindly ask the general public to cooperate with Nawasa during this period and limit their water usage as we have requested."

Prime Minister Hon. Dickon Mitchell has established a task force to enhance coordination and effectively communicate the restrictions to the public. The task force, which includes representatives from critical sectors such as NAWASA, the Meteorological Office, Agriculture, Health, Education, the RGPF, Social Development, the Business Community, the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association, the Government Information Service, and NaDMA, will convene on Saturday, May 11, 2024, to establish parameters for public communication and engagement.

Currently, 17 of NAWASA's water systems are affected by the dry spell. Communities at higher elevations and at the end of the distribution network will be disproportionately impacted due to NAWASA's gravity-fed systems. To mitigate this challenge, truck-borne water will be used to deliver water to at-risk supply areas according to a schedule.

Minister of Tourism Adrian Thomas has assured that contingency plans are in place to ensure water supply for hotels, schools, and residences. Under the G-CREWS project, co-financed by the Green Climate Fund (GCF), NAWASA is working to improve its non-revenue water management and mainstream rainwater harvesting at the domestic and residential levels as a long-term solution.

Prime Minister Mitchell has called for collective action and responsible water usage during this critical period. He urges all citizens and residents to adhere to the water restrictions and adopt water-saving practices in their daily routines. The Royal Grenada Police Force is mandated to enforce the restrictions, with violators facing penalties of up to $500 in fines and/or imprisonment for up to one month.

As Grenada faces the challenges posed by the severe dry season, the government remains committed to safeguarding the well-being of its communities. By implementing proactive measures and working together, the nation aims to overcome these hurdles and build a more resilient and sustainable future. The forthcoming restrictions will be formally gazetted and disseminated through various communication channels to ensure broad awareness and adherence.