Environment & Science

Puerto Rico extends water restrictions as drought worsens

This aerial photo shows the dry banks of La Plata River in Naranjito, in central Puerto Rico, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. A drought is affecting southern and central Puerto Rico in recent months, and water may begin to be rationed nationwide.
This aerial photo shows the dry banks of La Plata River in Naranjito, in central Puerto Rico, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. A drought is affecting southern and central Puerto Rico in recent months, and water may begin to be rationed nationwide.
Ricardo Arduengo/AP

A deepening drought in Puerto Rico has forced the government to extend severe water rationing measures to more communities.

A total of nearly 400,000 customers now receive water every third day as the U.S. territory's main reservoirs continue to shrink.

Nearly 13 percent of Puerto Rico is under an extreme drought and another 39 percent under a severe one. The National Drought Mitigation Center said a total of 2.5 million people have been affected.

The newest rationing measures went into effect Wednesday.

The drought has forced some businesses to temporarily close as Puerto Rico struggles to emerge from a nearly decade-long economic slump.

Other Caribbean islands also are struggling with a drought, including Jamaica, St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic.