The forecast through October 2016, as seen in the 12-month composite map (below), indicates a patchwork of varying water conditions in the region. Deficits are forecast for western Afghanistan while surpluses are forecast in the east; deficits are forecast for much of Pakistan and much of northern India; surpluses are forecast for Jammu and Kashmir, southeastern India and Sri Lanka; both deficits and surpluses are forecast in many areas.

Pakistan's cotton sector, critical to the national economy, is suffering as drought has reduced production for millions of farmers and negative impacts are expected to ripple through the country's textile industry affecting exports and GDP. Sugar mills in drought-stricken parts of Maharashtra, India shut down crushing operations due to water shortage and lack of cane, while Karnataka to the south has lost 70% of its rabi crop. Desperate farmers in northern provinces have abandoned acreage, posted armed guards at water sources, sold their blood, and committed suicide.

The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions in more detail. Widespread water deficits, with large areas of exceptional deficits, are forecast for much of India through April 2016. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast during this period for southeastern India and Sri Lanka. Deficits are expected to transition to moderate to severe surpluses June through October. Moderate surpluses are also forecast to emerge along the northern portion of the Indus River in Pakistan in August. Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are forecast to transition from surplus to deficit by June, and deficits may persist through October. In Nepal, both deficits and surpluses are forecast through April; by July and thereafter surpluses are forecast in western regions.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

Comment

Many analyses reported in ISciences-authored blog posts are based on data generated by the ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). Other sources, if used, are referenced in footnotes accompanying individual posts. WSIM is a validated capability that produces monthly reports on current and forecast global freshwater surpluses and deficits with lead times of 1-9 months at 0.5°x0.5° resolution. This capability has been in continuous operation since April 2011 and has proven to provide reliable forecasts of emerging water security concerns in that time-frame. WSIM has the ability to assess the impacts of water anomalies on people, agriculture, and electricity generation. Detailed data, customized visualizations, and reports are available for purchase.

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