November 25, 2020

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Wanda Vázquez declares a state of emergency due to drought for all of Puerto Rico




Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced today issued Executive Order 2020-049 that declares a state of emergency due to drought for all of Puerto Rico, assigning priority to the regions that are being affected by the meteorological, agricultural and hydrological drought.

“During the past weeks, we have been facing a period of low precipitation, which, together with the continuous aftershocks that continue to occur due to the earthquake of January 7, 2020 and before the pandemic of coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) threatens the general welfare, including basic services and the health of our citizens, "said the governor in a press release.

Likewise, the first executive added that" During the past two weeks, the Aqueduct and Sewer Authority has been forced to implement service interruption plans in the municipalities of Canóvanas, Loíza, Río Grande and San Lorenzo due to low precipitation. Similarly, it is necessary to implement a plan to interrupt water use services for the municipalities that supply the Carraízo reservoir. These are Canóvanas, Carolina, Gurabo, San Juan and Trujillo Alto. The dramatic drops in said reservoir, accompanied by the rain deficit, have caused a substantial drop in the water reserve that supplies these municipalities. ”

In addition, OE 2020-049 orders the Department of Public Security (DSP) carry out the interagency coordination of executive actions and planning, mitigation, response and recovery techniques to comprehensively address the declaration of drought emergency, with the advice of various government agencies.

All agencies, their interagency efforts to monitor and coordinate government actions in accordance with the drought event, should use the Protocol for Drought Management in Puerto Rico 2018 as a guide.

Vázquez Garced indicated that, at its most In a recent report dated June 25, 2020, the United States National Weather Service, through the Drought Monitor, classified 29 municipalities in a period of moderate meteorological drought, and 21 municipalities in a period of severe meteorological drought. [19659007] Moderate and severe drought, as defined by said Drought Monitor, involves potential damage to crops, pastures, rivers, reservoirs and wells, and represents a decrease in water and intermittent water levels.

Similarly, the Drought Monitor declared 12 municipalities under the category of atypically dry climate. These classifications respond to the low levels of precipitation recorded and the decrease in the main drinking water reservoirs.

According to data from the United States Geological Service, the flows of surface water bodies in Puerto Rico present conditions lower than the typical historical averages of these bodies of water.

Likewise, according to sentinel piezometers, the water levels of the southern aquifers show negative changes reflecting a decrease in their levels. Those monitored in the municipalities of Ponce, Juana Díaz and Santa Isabel are in the observation phase, while in Salinas Rasa-D is in the Operational Adjustment phase and Aguirre is in the Critical phase. There are no glimpses of changes in weather conditions that improve the situation.



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