Southeast Asia & the Pacific: Exceptional water deficits to persist in Cambodia
September 22, 2016
The Big Picture
As seen in the 12-month map (below), water deficits are forecast for Thailand, Cambodia, the Malay Peninsula, northeastern Borneo, central Philippines, and eastern Papua New Guinea. Greatest severity and extent is expected to be in Cambodia. Water surpluses are forecast for southern Laos into central Vietnam, the western tip of Borneo, parts of Java, western Flores Island, and West Papua, Indonesia.
Heavy rains caused flooding and landslides in Java, Indonesia that killed 20 people, injured 30, and forced the evacuation of 1,000. Flooding was also reported in northern provinces of Laos and Vietnam, resulting in 6 deaths. Two hours of continuous rain rendered some intersections in Metro Manila, Philippines impassible to small vehicles.
After two seasons of drought many small-scale farmers in Cambodia are finding themselves caught in a cycle of debt to multiple micro-lenders, borrowing from one to pay another. And with paddy production down, many of the country's rice producers and millers are anxiously awaiting promised government loans from the Rural Development Bank totaling $20 to $30 million.
A massive humanitarian food distribution program to benefit hundreds of thousands of people in drought-stricken Papua New Guinea is set to end this month.
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail.
Exceptional (greater than 40 years) deficits are forecast to persist in Cambodia through May. From September through November moderate (5 to 10 years) water deficits will continue to emerge in Thailand, and moderate to extreme (20 to 40 years) deficits will continue to emerge in the eastern half of Luzon, Philippines. Deficits are forecast to recede in eastern Papua New Guinea. Exceptional surpluses are forecast in Laos and in western Flores Island. Moderate to isolated areas of extreme surpluses are expected in Vietnam; southern Sumatra, Java, North Kalimantan, and West Papua, Indonesia; and, northern Luzon, Philippines.
By December much of Southeast Asia and the Pacific will begin to transition to conditions of water deficit. Moderate deficits will continue to emerge in Thailand and will emerge in parts of Vietnam, on the island of Borneo, throughout the Philippines, and in Papua New Guinea. Severe to exceptional deficits will emerge on southern Luzon, the Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast for much of Laos.
The forecast for the latter three months – March through May – indicate conditions similar to the prior three months with deficits of varying severity continuing to emerge throughout the region.
(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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