No rain in sight as France's Martinique declares first ever drought

The French Caribbean department of Martinique has declared a drought crisis for the first time in its history. The lack of rain has threatened drinking water, while authorities have imposed heavy water restrictions.

In a statement, Martinique's prefecture said the island had received 70 percent less rainfall in April than it had in the last 30 years, and warned the drought conditions were getting close to the record set in 1973.

Rainwater is the primary source of drinking water in Martinique, and many residents of south of the island are already contending with rotating water cuts, with rivers and reservoirs dangerously low.

About 20 schools have had to close because they have been unable guarantee the health and safety of the students.

Temperatures are also abnormally high, about 2C more than average, and no significant rain is forecast soon.

Authorities had already limited some use of water in April, including a ban on water lawns and gardens and the filling of private pools.

The crisis status imposes even more restriction, including a ban on washing cars and boats, and the imposition of a 25 percent cut in water usage for companies that consume more than 1,000 cubic metres of water a year.

(with AFP)

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