Global Warming and Water Supplies

Author - Ramesh Sujanani
Author – Ramesh Sujanani

Approximately two years ago former president of the NWC E.G. Hunter made a comment on enlargement of the reservoir and dams in Jamaica, Hermitage and Mona.

He mentioned that the cost of any rehabilitation of existing storage was not worth the cost; andthat the rest of the Island is generally self sustaining in water:  Moving the water from source to usage areas was what was necessary to alleviate problems (matching supply to consumption).

At the present time NWC relies on its water trucks to fill the need, and I would add to the solution piping water from St. Ann and St. James to the nearest points on the System, which can be accommodated. This is expensive no doubt, but not as costly as new reservoirs, or constant dredging of Hermitage. I would hope that NWA will take current rainfall sessions seriously, and not hinge on better rainfall next year to meet the country’s needs. Saving water, better transfers between sources, improved storage, all have to be considered priority; otherwise next year we may be drinking seawater.

(I note that a significant amount of bottled water is available in the supermarket and stores in Jamaica, and I have no problems if the source is Jamaican water. If not, it is a waste of money, and imports of water should be ceased;any savings passed on to water projects.)


This year has been one of the most uncomfortable with heat, and last August it appears from worldwide data has been the hottest month in 130 years. Clearly, major effort has to be made in restricting Carbon bi- products into the atmosphere which seems to be a reason. The Carbon is attributed to burnt fossil fuel, oil, gas, coal and similar products, and has been largely ignored by various nations.

global warming drought water supply effect
Land damaged by fire triggered by drought. Image Source:

But there is one other major reason:Weather scientists working with Global Warming have theorised in the past, and predict in future years to come,the warming  and coolingphenomenon of ‘El Nino’ and ‘laNina’s”: They contribute more to warming than previously thought.

Though the Pacific Ocean covers one-third of the Earth’s surface, its condition affects the climate of the whole Earth.

The Pacific periodically goes through El Nino toneutral to La Nina, and vice versa. In an ‘’El Nino’,’ warm waters cover a sizable percentage of the Pacific’s area, and this heats the atmosphere. (J.C. Curry, Donald Rapp, Climate, etc).  This correlates the Global Warming and CO2 concentration in the past hundred years; though most of the heating effect is due to El Nino warming.

From data researched, it appears that el Nino (warming) to La Nina( cooling) have balanced over the past 120 years, hence the earth remained at fairly average temperature; also indicative that CO2 warming may have barely contributed to Global Warming in that period. There are other variables in this relationship: Solar storms and flaring which will affect temperature as well.

Then more questions arise from these relationships; does excessive CO2 acts as a trigger for El Nino to La Nina Oscillation to grow worse?  Then some scientists are predicting that a period of El Nino warming will begin, or has already begun this year.

Kevin Trenberth, a leader in Climatology at the UN, points out that  much heat has come from the sun’s activity this year, and suspects that it is too much for the earth to emit back into space. He further comments that the heat is warming the Pacific, and there is a large storage of warming beneath the surface. This he feels will this will gradually release through increases in surface and atmospheric temperature, 2014-2015, and already a mild El Nino may be forming, but we need thirty days to confirm.


In which event, we may have to project its effect on rainfall in Jamaica.

Written by Ramesh Sujanani

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