Colombia’s government announced that water restrictions will be implemented across several cities due to severe “El Niño” related droughts.
According to Housing Minister Luis Felipe Henao, “the map [of droughts] across the country is extremely serious,” reported Caracol News on Wednesday.
The El Niño weather phenomenon has been causing swathes of high temperatures and low rainfall across northern and western parts of Colombia in particular, since February of this year.
In response to the diminishing supplies, water will be rationed for 4 hours of each day, and if the drought persists, for 8 hours a day.
Penalties will be incurred if authorities encounter the misuse of water in the affected cities.
Cali, Armenia and Ibague, three state capital cities, are among Henao’s list of cities suffering from the drought that will have to comply with the water restrictions.
According to reports, the minister originally expected El Niño to last until June. Instead the harsh conditions have worsened through July and August, causing rivers and municipal water supplies to dry up.
It is now predicted that parts of Colombia will continue to suffer from the effects of the phenomenon until March 2016.
El Niño is a weather phenomenon in which a band of warm ocean water develops in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific, encompassing the South American Pacific coast. A cycle of warm and cold temperatures are common, which is accompanied by high air pressure in the western pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.
Changes in temperatures and rainfalls, as Colombia is currently experiencing, can result in long periods of drought in the South American Pacific coast.