Drought monitoring index for Jamaica

Drought is a serious issue in the Jamaican context, with the potential to cause millions of dollars in crop losses. As such, the ability to monitor and anticipate the onset of drought is an important key in alleviating the negative impacts of this phenomenon.

The development of drought indices has been identified by water resources managers and stakeholders in Jamaica as being an important step in the development of an integrated water resources management program, and as such has been identified as a high priority for research in Jamaica. Therefore, the purpose of this research is three-fold:

  1. To develop drought indices for the island of Jamaica and determine their suitability to represent soil water
  2. To determine the effects of urbanization on surface water supply for the Rio Nuevo sub-basin, St. Mary, using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT)
  3. To perform a Drought Frequency Analysis and determine irrigation deficits for 3 study sites on the island

Preliminary research results on the correlation between drought indices and soil water indicate the the Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) has potential for use in understanding soil water during drought events in Jamaica. The results from this research will be valuable in predicting and managing the water resources of the entire island.

Related Publications

The development of tools for monitoring, managing and assessing water stressed conditions in Jamaica. [.pdf]

Paper presented at the XVIIth World Congress of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR), hosted by the Canadian Society for Bioengineering (CSBE/SCGAB) Québec City, Canada June 13-17, 2010.

An investigation into the feasibility of using SWAT at the sub-basin level for simulating hydrologic conditions in Jamaica [.pdf]

Paper presented by Johanna Richards at the 5th Caribbean Environmental Forum, Jamaica, June 21-25, 2010

The development of the SPI and NDVI for 3 study sites in Jamaica, with an investigation into their use in understanding soil water during water stressed conditions [.pdf]

Paper presented by Johanna Richards at the 5th Caribbean Environmental Forum, Jamaica, June 21-25, 201

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