Drinking water crisis hits Indian Ocean island
MAMOUTZOU, France – The Indian Ocean island of Mayotte has been forced to impose severe water restrictions on tens of thousands of people due to the late arrival of seasonal rains.
Around a third of the 200,000 residents on the island, which is administered by France, have seen their access to piped water at home cut to one day in three.
Hotels, an important part of the local economy, have been told not to fill up their swimming pools and many are having to hand out bottled water to customers.
Local officials met on Wednesday and decided to extend the measures until the end of January when rains are forecast to arrive and replenish the island’s two dwindling reservoirs.
“This is a crisis situation,” local official Florence Ghilbert-Bezard told AFP, adding that the restrictions were necessary “to maintain our resources at any cost until the start of the rainy season.”
The drought has exacerbated Mayotte’s water problems. The island’s resources were already under pressure from a rising local population which saw water consumption jump by 9.7 percent in 2016.
Low-lying island nations have lobbied hard for global efforts to combat climate change, arguing that they are the most vulnerable to extreme weather events such as drought, as well as rising sea levels./rga