The Big Picture
Exceptional water deficits will continue to affect many parts of Southeast Asia and the Pacific through November 2016 as seen in the 12-month map (below).

Impacts
Thailand's Agriculture and Cooperative Minister estimates a loss of half a million rice fields due to drought in the country's Central Plain. With no air moisture to activate rains even artificial rain-making has been thwarted. Cloud-seeding planes, overseen by the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation, have been grounded or flown limited missions. The government has added drinking water to a special price controls list to protect vulnerable citizens, and a curfew has been established for this year's Songkran festival, an annual water festival marking the Thai New Year during which people splash each other to wash away misfortune and vice. China has agreed to discharge water from its Jinghong hydropower station fed by the Lancang River (Mekong) in Yunnan province from March 15 to April 10 to alleviate downstream shortages along the Mekong River through Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In Java, flooding described as the worst in 10 years forced the evacuation of 8,000 people and submerged 35,000 homes. 

Forecast Breakdown
From March through May, depicted in the 3-month maps below, severe to exceptional water deficits are forecast in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Malay Peninsula, and Mindanao. Surpluses are forecast to continue in western Borneo during that period. Java is currently transitioning to surpluses that are forecast to persist through November and which may be exceptional in the eastern half of the island. Deficits are forecast to emerge on Sumatra in April, spread and persist through October, with a transition to surpluses in the south. Deficits on Papua are expected to diminish in extent and intensity during March and April but will emerge and spread thereafter and for the remainder of the forecast period, particularly in Papua, New Guinea.

(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.

For more information contact info@isciences.com.

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