Cuba will begin a project to artificially increase rainfall over drought-parched areas, local media reported Thursday.
According to Cuban newspaper Granma, the country's National Institute for Hydraulic Resources (INRH) will begin large-scale tests with cloud seeding in September.
Cloud seeding involves bombarding clouds with chemicals that stimulate rainfall. The process is generally considered safe, but the effectiveness of the process is still fiercely disputed internationally.
INRH says preliminary tests in Cuba have shown positive results, and there are hopes the large-scale tests in September will result in tangible benefits for people living in some of the island nation's driest areas.
The focus of the study will be the Cauto Basin, a region that includes Cuba's longest river, the Rio Cauto.
Speaking to Granma, INRH's water infrastructure director Yosmary Gil said researchers would like to see increased rain that boosts the Cauto's water flow. Gil explained the INRH will know whether the pilot program has been successful within two months.
Cuba is currently facing its driest year on record for over a century. Annual rainfall this year has been even lower than 2004 levels, when the country was gripped by what is now considered one of the worst droughts in the nation's history.
The drought has also affected other countries across the Caribbean and Central America, amid growing fears over the future of the region’s agricultural sector.
Earlier this month, Cuba's government began carrying out emergency measures, including trucking emergency water supplies to farmers and remote communities.
The government says it's willing to do everything necessary to ensure all Cubans have adequete access to water.