May 13, 2021

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The percentage of the island under drought patterns rises to 77%

The United States Drought Monitor (USDM) revealed today, Thursday, that the percentage of drought on the island increased to 77%, which is 43 percentage points more than last week.

According to the agency, specifically it is 63% of the island under atypically dry conditions, and 14% under moderate drought. The population living in areas under drought conditions was estimated at 534,101, based on the most recent population census data.

The category of “atypically dry” conditions means that the area in question has a water deficit and that the dryness that affects it stops or slows the cultivation of food or grassland. Meanwhile, the moderate drought category means that some grasslands have been damaged, water sources or reservoirs are low, and moderate use of water is required.

Map showing areas under atypically dry conditions in yellow and moderate drought areas in cream. (USDM)

According to National Weather Service (SNM) in San Juan, the island accumulates between two to six inches of rainfall deficit for the past three months, which is why the drought has expanded.

The term rain deficit refers to the amount of precipitation that a territory does not receive in a given time, which, in the case of Puerto Rico, exceeds 60 days.

The most affected areas are the eastern interior, towns in the south, as well as the northwest of the island, where moderate drought affects the most.

Meteorologist Carlos Anselmi pointed out, however, that there is a possibility that next week an improvement in drought patterns will be reflected due to the rains that have left a trough over the island this week.

“But everything will depend on the impact of the rains and what the studies determine. This report considers agricultural and soil factors that also play an important role in the percentage of drought “, detailed the expert by telephone.

The Water and sewage Authority (AAA) reported today that all reservoirs are at a security level, except Toa Vaca and Guajataca.

In addition, only three of the 11 reservoirs at the island level saw a decrease in their drinking water levels: Cidra, Patillas and Cerrillos.

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