Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean: Water deficits in Mexico & Guatemala

19 December 2016

The Big Picture
The 12-month forecast ending August 2017 (below) indicates moderate water deficits across much of Mexico with pockets of more extreme deficits, and water surpluses in much of Central America. Extreme to exceptional deficits are forecast in Mexico for: Baja California, Cabo San Lucas, Michoacán, Oaxaca, and Yucatan. Deficits are also forecast for Guatemala, western Cuba, and western Puerto Rico. Moderate to extreme surpluses are forecast for eastern Honduras, Nicaragua, northern Costa Rica, and eastern Panama. Exceptional surpluses are forecast in Haiti.

Hurricane Otto struck Central America in late November, creating swollen rivers and mudslides that claimed four lives in Panama. Flights were delayed, schools closed, and 50 homes were destroyed. Three people died in Costa Rica and 2,500 were evacuated.

In Guatemala reduced flows in the Sis and Madre Vieja Rivers, attributed to low rainfall and inadequate resource management, could threaten the food security of 50,000 people in the coming months according to the World Food Programme. Authorities report that in 2016 the level of both rivers was 60 per cent of normal minimum. The National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology is concerned about the possibility of conflict between communities over water diversion and the impact on hydropower in the region.

Insurance compensation totaling MXN$11,191,000 (US$580,000*) was issued by SECAM (Secretaría del Campo) to 2,100 drought-affected livestock farmers in Chiapas, Mexico (about US$278 per farmer).

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail.

The forecast for December 2016 through February 2017 indicates water deficits of modest severity throughout much of Mexico with pockets of exceptional deficits in Oaxaca. Deficits in Baja California are expected to nearly disappear. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast to persist in western Cuba and emerge in eastern Cuba and in Jamaica. In Central America, deficits are expected to persist in Guatemala; and moderate to exceptional surpluses are forecast to persist in eastern Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.

The March through May map shows the persistence of exceptional deficits, especially in Oaxaca, and the continued emergence of deficits in Yucatán, Guerrero, Michoacán, western Jalisco, and Nayarit. Moderate deficits are forecast to emerge on the Baja Peninsula. Deficits are expected to persist in southern Guatemala. Surpluses in western Nicaragua and in Haiti will transition to conditions of both surplus and deficit.

The final quarter of the forecast period indicates the absence of widespread significant water anomalies, though moderate to severe deficits are predicted for the Baja Peninsula.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

* using exchange rates as of November 3, 2016


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.

For more information contact

Copyright 2019 ISCIENCES, L.L.C. Global Water Monitor & Forecast Watch List is the property of ISCIENCES, L.L.C. It is protected by U.S. copyright laws and may not be reproduced in any way without the written permission of ISCIENCES, L.L.C. The user assumes the entire risk related to its use of information on ISCIENCES, L.L.C. Web pages, including information derived from Water Security Indicators Model (WSIM). This information may include forecasts, projections and other predictive statements that represent ISCIENCES, L.L.C.’s assumptions and expectations in light of currently available information and using the highest professional standards. Actual results may differ from those projected. Consequently, no guarantee is presented or implied as to the accuracy of specific forecasts, projections or predictive statements contained herein. ISCIENCES, L.L.C. provides such information "as is," and disclaims any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will ISCIENCES, L.L.C. be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.