Droughts and shortage of water are silently creeping into everyone's radar and becoming a more common topic of conversation. According to the Global Drought Information System, there have been serious drought reports all over the world. The reports include places like Switzerland, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the Caspian Sea, Indonesia, the north of Africa, South Africa, California, Brazil, and Australia. And now, the small island of Puerto Rico is going through a very serious drought. Experts are even stating that this is the worst drought in Puerto Rico's history.
Most of Puerto Rico's water is taken from various reservoirs throughout the island. The main two reservoirs from which a great percentage of the island takes from are Carraízo and La Plata. Rising temperatures, excessive consumption, and other factors have led to the reduction of water levels in these and other reservoirs.
While this drought has been slowly ongoing for various years, the effects have been greatly felt this summer throughout the island.
Earlier this summer, around May, the Water and Sewage Authority (known as AAA in Puerto Rico) began rationing water supply to the metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. This affected over 300,000 homes and businesses at the time. The rationing consisted of residents having no access to the water supply every other day.
Today, the effects of the drought have grown. Currently, 34 out Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities are categorized as "under extreme drought." In addition, the U.S Drought Monitor recorded that throughout the island the drought is affecting over 2.8 million people, or 86.54% of the population. Last week, the number of affected people was 2.7 million. In some of these municipalities, the rationing has been of having water supply only every third day (two days of no water, one day with). In others, the rationing was taken up to only two set days of water supply a week.
Out of the 78 municipalities, only two (Adjuntas and Las Marias) are not classified in any category of drought and so far have not been affected by it.
Surprisingly, despite the risks and seriousness of the situation, Puerto Ricans in general have been both understanding and optimistic toward the situation. Puerto Ricans still maintain their joyful and celebratory attitude. They have taken a grim situation and made the best they can out of it. For example, famous Puerto Rican YouTubers and Viners have made parodies of the situation, motivating people to look at the situation from a more humorous angle. Also, many Puerto Ricans have used the rationing as an excuse to travel, visit family and friends, go out more, and to just have fun. If there's one thing I've learned about my Puerto Rican culture, it is to be joyful, positive, and grateful in all situations.