Drought Watch for BVI – 2015-05-08

Drought Watch for BVI – 2015-05-08

Following a very dry month of April, the British Virgin Islands seems to be heading into an even drier month of May. A high pressure system, at the lower levels of the atmosphere, along with dry dusty air from the Sahara Desert will continue to restrict showers in the BVI causing the weather to be sunny and hazy.

Residents are being asked to practice water conservation tips as often as possible.
Turn off taps when not in use and monitor’s your child/children water usage.
NevNever pour water down the drain when there may be another use for it. For example, use it to water your plants or garden.
· Repair dripping faucets by replacing washers and check all plumbing for leaks and have them repaired by a plumber.
· Check your cistern pump periodically. If the automatic pump turns on and off while water is not being used, you most likely have a leak.
If you decide to garden consider native and/or drought-tolerant plants.

Install irrigation devices in your gardens that are the most water efficient for each use

· Use mulch to retain moisture in the soil. Mulch also helps control weeds that compete with landscape plants for water.
Avoid purchasing recreational water toys that require a constant stream of water.
· Limit the washing of vehicles as much as possible.

The drought conditions do not only impact the water supply but can affect individuals as well. Many persons are already feeling the discomfort. It is important to limit exertion during high temperature days, drink plenty of water and take cool showers or baths, and remain indoors or in the shade. Remember to check on children and elderly or at-risk family, friends or neighbors regularly.

Persons at risk include outdoor workers and those who work in hot environments such as firefighters, bakery workers, farmers and construction workers to name a few. Persons at greater risk include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.

Avoid exposure to extreme heat, direct sunlight, and high humidity when possible. When this exposure cannot be avoided, workers should take the following steps to prevent heat stress:
· Wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton. Avoid non-breathing synthetic clothing
· Gradually build up to heavy work.

· Schedule heavy work during the coolest parts of day.

· Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity. Take breaks in the shade or a cool area when possible.

· Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Approximately 1 cup every 15-20 minutes.

· Avoid alcohol, and drinks with large amounts of caffeine or sugar.

· Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.

· Monitor your physical condition and that of your coworkers.

· And remember to use sun protection when outdoors – hats, sun block etc. Parents and teachers should pay particular attention to these measures for children and ensure that they have adequate protection when outdoors.