News in Monday’s paper that the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning the Environment had opened up Great Bay Channel in connection with the current drought conditions no doubt surprised some readers. For starters, the emergency outlet via the beach normally serves to release excess runoff water from Fresh Pond into the ocean, not the other way around.
The intention now is to make use of a high tide accompanying a full moon for seawater to come in and help raise the level of Fresh Pond, as well as subsequently of Great Salt Pond through the floodgates at the A.Th. Illidge Road roundabout. That may seem a bit drastic, but the situation had become serious and already sparked a massive fish die-off with possible consequences for public health.
According to the report, the saltwater will have little negative effect on the Fresh Pond ecosystem, as it is already accustomed to a saline-brackish environment. That may be right, but there is still a big difference between the degree of salinity in the ocean and in Fresh Pond, which after all was given this name for a reason.
Nevertheless, Government’s experts hopefully know what they are doing and St. Maarten Nature Foundation was monitoring the process. If this effort helps improve conditions, that obviously would be welcome, but it’s not going to do much for the dry vegetation surrounding the ponds.
What would is precipitation and quite a lot of it, although preferably not all at the same time. Naturally, everyone should be happy that the island has been spared any weather systems with a major impact so far this Atlantic Hurricane Season, but – by all means – please let it rain.