Tuesday , November 29 2022

Drought in numbers

Yesterday, the Executive Council has updated the residents about what they have been doing to address the water situation on the island. They have been closely monitoring the situation for some time. The Council has decided on both short term and long term measures to alleviate the burden that the lack of regular significant rainfall creates for the residents of the island.

Everyone one Saba and in the area have their personal experiences, but how bad is the situation statistically? Chris Meijvogel has been running his weather station in the Bottom for a few years now, 24 hrs/day. The data collected are automatically uploaded to the Weather Underground website. You can observe these data in real time data on the front page of Saba News. All information is recorded by the Weather Underground website, so it is easy to compare atmospheric data from year to year. Click on the link “The Bottom” in the right column.

The summary data of the last two years depict the following:

Summary Aug 2014 - Aug 2015
Summary 2014

It shows that over the last year, The Bottom only received some 57% of the rainfall compared to the same period in 2013-2014.

It is also possible to compare the daily rainfall over the same periods. That resulted in the following graphs:

Graph 2015
Daily rainfall (mm) over period Aug 2014- Aug 2015


Daily rainfall (mm) over period Aug 2013- Aug 2014
Daily rainfall (mm) over period Aug 2013- Aug 2014

How much water do we need?

There are statistics about anything in the Netherlands, so it is not difficult to find the private water consumption per person the the European Netherlands:

Waterverbruik NL

It amounts to some  118 liter/person/day. This equals to 43 m3/year/person or 9,550 gallons/person/year. This does not include water used for other applications at home, e.g. watering the garden, etc.

Assuming that 2014 was an average year with respect to rainfall, then a family of four persons, in The Bottom, needed a roof surface of  152 m2 to collect this amount of water into their cistern , assuming that there is no loss. For the houses with a large roof and large cisterns, this should not be feasible, but those that live in smaller accommodations already will have an issue.

In 2015 Saba received 43% less water from the sky, so now, even the bigger houses may have an issue.

In The Netherlands the cost of 1000 liter of water is about $1.80, including all taxes. On Saba the same volume costs more than $100.

These are the data. Draw your own conclusions.

Click here to read the press release from GIS Saba yesterday.

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One comment

  1. Wow ….. this data is quite shocking, but what is most disturbing is that water, a necessity of life, is costing residents of Saba 5555.5% more than what residents of the Netherlands have to pay.

    Yes, that’s a ‘Five Thousand, five hundred and fifty’ percent increase vs. the Netherlands, yet I don’t believe anyones salary over here is remotely close to the salaries in the Netherlands. It is criminal that islanders are so underpaid yet have to pay so much for something that most outside of the region take for granted. Something MUST be done!