Exceptional water deficits may dominate North Africa through June 2016 – as the 12-month map (below) illustrates – with both deficits and surpluses in some areas. The map is based on observed data through September 2015 and forecasts issued the last week of September 2015. Deficits may persist in coastal West Africa, Southern Africa, Madagascar, and northern Ethiopia.

Exceptional surpluses are expected in East Africa, particularly in Kenya and Tanzania.

In Ethiopia the drought is the worst in a decade and the government now estimates that around 8.2 million people are in need of food assistance, up from 4.55 million in August. In southern Africa low water levels in Lake Kariba, a large reservoir and site of a major hydropower plant that delivers half of Zambia's energy and much of Zimbabwe's, have threatened a total shutdown. South Africa's key maize crop has been cut by a third. In contrast, East Africa faces exceptional water surpluses. Uganda's National Meteorological Authority has warned that the rain may be the worst in 50 years and has advised people to plant crops that can resist heavy rains.

As illustrated in the 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period, the extent of deficits in southern Africa may remain unchanged though severity may diminish somewhat toward the end of the forecast period.

Surpluses in East Africa may be most severe October through March, and some surpluses may emerge in central and southern Ethiopia April through June. Surpluses observed in southern Mali and in Burkina Faso July through September may intensify in the coming months, increasing in extent. Both deficits and surpluses may emerge along the course of the Nile River January through March. (It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)


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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