Extreme to exceptional water deficits may dominate the region, including the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, southern Iraq, and central Iran, as seen in the 12-month map (below). The map is based on observed data through August and forecasts issued the last week of August 2015.

A recent World Resources Institute study concluded that 14 of the 33 countries most likely to be water stressed in 2040 are in the Middle East, including nine considered extremely highly stressed: Bahrain, Kuwait, Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Lebanon. Ongoing water shortages in Oman have forced residents of Muscat to rely on water delivery tankers as they wait for new desalination plants to come online. Tankers have been deployed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as well, but some areas of the city haven't had a delivery in up to a week. Sanaa, Yemen has the dubious title of being the first capital city in the world to run out of water. Acknowledging that current and future water stress in the region threatens economic growth, spurs migration, and challenges national security area experts are looking for new solutions including alternatives to conventional desal.

The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions in more detail. While pockets of Turkey, Syria, and northern Iran are forecast to experience water surpluses September through November, exceptional deficits are expected on the Arabian Peninsula, southern Iraq, and central and southern Iran.

Moderate water surpluses may continue to emerge in Turkey December through February and may emerge in northern Iraq; deficits elsewhere may persist, though diminish in severity, before resuming previous exceptional deficit status March through May. Surplus conditions in Turkey are expected to transition to deficit beginning in February and increasing in extent and severity through May. (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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