Exceptional water deficits are forecast to dominate North Africa through August 2016 –as the 12-month map (below) illustrates – with both deficits and surpluses in some areas. Exceptional deficits are forecast to persist in coastal West Africa and southern Africa. Exceptional surpluses are expected in East Africa, particularly in Kenya and Tanzania. Surpluses are also forecast for western Burkina Faso.

Around 2.7 million households in South Africa are facing water shortages and the drought has sparked a recruitment drive for firefighters. The government has declared drought in KwaZulu-Natal, North West, Northern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga, and acute food insecurity is severe due to low cereal supplies and an increase in staple food prices. In West Africa the world's largest cocoa farms are at risk. Ethiopia has raised its estimate of the number of people who desperately need food aid to 10.1 million due to the drought, and the World Health Organization has deployed an emergency response team. In Tanzania cholera - transmitted through contaminated drinking water - has infected 10,000 people resulting in 150 deaths, as flooding continues.


As illustrated in the 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period, the extent and location of deficits forecast on the continent are basically consistent through August, though changes in severity are forecast.

Moderate to exceptional surpluses are forecast to persist in East Africa through August, and surpluses are forecast to emerge in Ethiopia March through August. Surpluses are forecast to persist in Burkina Faso and continue to emerge in southern Mali through August, though both deficits and surpluses are forecast December through February. A line of moderate surpluses forecast across the southern Sahel is evident in the June through August map. (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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