Much of the Caribbean is experiencing severe water shortages at this time. From Trinidad and Tobago in the south to Jamaica in the north, people are experiencing water woes. In some instances consumers have no choice but to purchase truck- borne water for household use, which is sometimes illegal.
Governments and utility companies in the region have responded to the drought by announcing stringent measures to maintain water supplies. There are public service advertisements and announcements that advise of a ban on using hoses to wash vehicles and to water lawns, and water police have been deployed in Trinidad to enforce the new measures. In Jamaica, as in other parts of the region, water is being rationed.
The Trinidad Express has reported that the Antigua Public Utilities Company (APUC) has become the latest water supply company in the region to implement water rationing measures. Antigua and Barbuda are heavily reliant on surface water supplies, and have estimated that their water supply will last until the end of February if the rains do not come.
Similarly, in Guyana, the drought- like condition is being closely monitored. The Guyanese are concerned that prolonged water shortages will affect irrigation supplies for crops. The potable water supply is also under threat as surface water provides 50% of the water for the capital, Georgetown.
The problem is caused by low rainfall. This year the dry season, which runs from about January to May and precedes the Rainy Season, has been particularly “rainless”. Another factor has been the lower than usual rainfall during the 2009 rainy season, when the water supplied to dams was significantly reduced.
Of course, the authorities are blaming physical factors for the water problem. The El Nino weather phenomenon is widely believed to be causing the drought. I did, however, overhear one spiritual lady warn about the punishment that befalls nations when there is rampant wickedness and disregard for God’s laws.
The stranger lamented the many murders that occur daily. She also expressed fear for the consequences of lewd dressing and behaviours that are now commonplace. Her words reminded me of my Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani. He warned about the Law of the Return of Deeds. El Sheikh Gilani advised all mankind to do good and forbid evil. In the simplest of language he stated, “What goes around comes around”. He meant that the wrong we do comes back to us, as does also the good. Allah dries up the rain and unleashes calamities on humankind when we are disobedient and ungrateful. I think we should take heed. There may be much relief from calamities if governments also “police” morality and spirituality in their efforts to combat disasters like drought.