The Big Picture
The forecast through December 2016 (below) shows water deficits in southern India, and moderate surpluses for much of the remainder of the country. In Afghanistan and Pakistan both deficits and surpluses are expected.*

Impacts
Recent flooding and landslides have killed over 55 people in northern Pakistan, stranded thousands, destroyed roads and communications infrastructure, and buried homes and businesses. In northern Afghanistan dozens are dead as similar conditions struck the provinces of Takhar, Badghis and Samangan. Though flooding is common in the northern regions, the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce cites the nation's water scarcity as its biggest threat, particularly in Balochistan.

Water deficits have plagued much of India in recent months, destroying livelihoods, uprooting families, and prompting protests. Facing massive crop losses farmers in Telangana are selling off their cattle and cutting down trees to raise much-needed cash. Lack of drinking water is pushing tribals from remote regions of Maharastra into the cities in search of jobs. In Nashik 30,000 farmers blocked the road demanding government relief. Even the sports and entertainment world has been forced to adapt: cricket matches were relocated and film shoots postponed

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail. Surpluses are forecast in northern India, northern Pakistan, and eastern Afghanistan from April through June. Surpluses are forecast along the northern portion of the Indus River in Pakistan during this period while deficits are forecast along the southern portion. Though widespread and severe water deficits will persist in many parts of India in April, particularly in the south, deficits will diminish in May and June. From July through December a transition to moderate surpluses is forecast reaching coast-to-coast across India’s mid-section. Deficits are forecast to emerge in Assam and other northeastern India states in June and persist for several months.

Surpluses are forecast along the Gandaki River in the center of Nepal in August. (It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

* Please note that effective March 28, 2016 NOAA changed the initialization procedure for CFSv2 to address issues with unrealistically cold sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. As a result, this month's Watch List is based on an ensemble of 14 CFSv2 forecasts issued after this fix was implemented instead of the normal 28. For more information see http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/notification/tin16-09cfs.htm and http://www.nco.ncep.noaa.gov/pmb/changes/downloads/CFSv2_Atlantic_cold_bias_problem.pdf.

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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