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Guyana on dry-spell watch, conservancies dropping

Guyana can expect a prolonged dry spell and already the water-levels in conservancies are dropping, prompting authorities to begin planning for a possible drought later in the year, authorities said Wednesday.

“The Ministry of Agriculture has established a Special El Nino Working group to monitor and plan actions to reduce any adverse impact of a possible El Nino on agriculture production,”  the Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.

Agriculture Minister, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy  told Demerara Waves Online News that the increasingly dry spell did not yet mean that the country was experiencing a drought.

“We are not yet calling it a drought and we are having small amounts of rain. If the rain doesn’t come, it will lead to a drought,” he said. He explained that hot dry conditions could lead to drought even as the probability of El Nino conditions increase every month. Currently, there is a 65 percent probability of El Nino conditions.

After consultation with its Hydrometeorological Office, and taking into consideration predictions from various Regional and International Forecasting and Weather Agencies, the Ministry said it was issuing an El Nino watch.

Figures show that Guyana’s rainfall for the period of March, April and so far in May (2014) has been below the average amount expected for the same period from long term rainfall averages.

The below normal amount of rainfall experienced along Guyana’s coast for this period is reflected in the levels of water in Guyana’s various water conservancies. Water Level Data

Current Level

Fully Supply Level

Critical Level (Low )

EDWC  55-50

57.50

53

MMA 60.25

64.0

59.5

Boerasirie 59.30

61.30

55

Tapakuma 56.60

57.5

According to the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) diagnostic discussion issued by Climate Prediction Center (NCEP) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society on 08 May, 2014, there is now more than a 65% chance that the Northern Hemisphere will experience El Nino conditions by the Season June-July-August , 2014.  Because of this new data, the ENSO Alert System Status is no “El Nino Watch”