Antigua & Barbuda has been accustomed to experiencing droughts. Long periods of droughts. In fact, during the early parts of our colonisation, the importation of water seems to have been a regular feature of our existence.
The sinking of wells by the colony’s governor Sir Eustace Fiennes marked the beginning of a positive step in attempting to solve the chronic shortage of drinking water.
Today, we have not only desalting plants and reverse osmosis systems, but also huge dams that have solved the problem of the seasonal, acute shortage of drinking water. The scarcity of water for agricultural purposes continues to be a fundamental problem when the seasonal drought recurs.
Even though our perennial dry season has been regarded by some as a negative aspect of our agricultural life, we would be willing to contend that this same dryness of our climate has served to give our fruits and vegetables a concentration that has been unique.
Thus our pineapples, carrots and fruits in general stand out in contrast to similar items produced in countries like Dominica, St Lucia etc where water is always present in an over-abundant supply.
In recent weeks there has been a countrywide cry that the drought has been taking its toll. In the parts of Antigua that have been composed predominantly of clay, huge cracks have been appearing, bringing to the forefront the colloidal properties of clay.
Seedlings and crops in their formative years of development have simply perished and members of the myrtaceae family that would normally have been under restriction because of their connection to the sea-cotton have perished regardless.
We definitely feel that the long drought has at last been broken. Every night, the rains have begun to fall, even in pusillanimous amounts, in many parts of Antigua. And if we accept the Antiguan saying that “one-one, full basket,” the accretions of regular deposits of moisture will do the job by giving us the balancing amount of water in our general environment.
It should be noted that we have not paid any specific attention to Barbuda. This island has been known to become split into three distinct parts after a hurricane and, in spite of its generally flat nature, has been known to reunite and also to possess large aquifers of fresh water beneath its surface.
We believe that the drought has broken and our prayer is that the gradual trickle of rain will increase until it becomes of a sufficient quantity to return us to a state of normalcy, and contentment.