#1 Climate Change Affects Water Availability

Climate change impacts the environmental, social, political and economic aspects of society. Basically, it will affect everything around you. Unpredictable and extreme weather conditions have already been linked to negative impacts on administrative and agricultural businesses globally. Water scarcity and a reduction in supply of agricultural products due to drought and heatwaves pose a threat to food security, destabilize the prices of commodities, cause inflation, political unrest and a slowdown in economic growth. Weather extremes such as heat waves and hurricanes can cripple entire social and farming communities and lead to business closures and loss of economic productivity for several days. With such conditions, businesses either close or under-produce costing business owners (and employees alike) time, money along with missed deadlines and opportunities (Schlichting, 2013).

Source: Jamaica Observer, 29/5/2015, A large section of a plantation scorched by the flames.

Source: Jamaica Observer, 29/5/2015, A large section of a plantation scorched by the May 2015 forest fires.

In May 2015, it took firemen and residents almost 1 month to bring fires in the hills of St. Andrew under control. The areas affected, which included Mavis Bank, Salt Hill, Flamstead, Guava Ridge and Content, suffered crop losses and property destruction estimated at over J$200 Million. This was a smaller part of the bigger and still ongoing water shortage crisis affecting the entire island, most significantly in Clarendon and St. Thomas (Jamaica Observer, 2015).

Jamaica, "based on forecast models, is expected to receive below normal rainfall for July through to November." This statement was made by The Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minster of Water, Land, Environment & Climate Change at a press conference held at the Kingston offices of the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Two of the country's largest water storage facilities, the Mona Reservoir and the Hermitage Dam are currently operating at only 32.8% and 44.2% capacity respectively (Jamaica Observer, 2015).

Climate change, identified by rising global temperatures can extend dry spells and create more ideal and widespread conditions for forest fires and can lead to water shortage, loss of crops and damage to property by fire. Just your basic peace of mind, knowing that water will flow from your tap after you get home from work/school, will be affected as the National Water Commission (NWC) is already forced under current conditions to implement a tight schedule of lock-offs, which will affect the island until at least the end of this year.

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climate change affects water availability

Additional Reading:

  1. Schlichting, I. (2013). Strategic Framing of Climate Change by Industry Actors: A Meta-analysis. Environmental Communication, 7(4), 493-511. doi:10.1080/17524032.2013.812974
  2. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/J-25m-allocated-for-rehabilitation-of-farms-in-Blue-Mountain-Hills
  3. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Water-shortage-now-critical--says-Pickersgill_19154258
  4. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cruel-twist-of-fate_18992633