Southeast Asia & the Pacific: Water deficits persist in Cambodia, surpluses in Laos & Vietnam

19 December 2016

The Big Picture
As seen in the 12-month map (below), exceptional water deficits are forecast for Cambodia. Exceptional surpluses are forecast for Laos, Vietnam, North Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), and Java. 

Heavy rainfall in December produced flooding that has left at least 24 dead in central Vietnam. Damage is estimated at $32 million with over 32,000 hectares of farmland inundated.

At least five people were reported dead due to flooding and landslides in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, and flood waters destroyed the bridge connecting North Sulawesi and Gorontalo province.

In West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia flooding forced the evacuation of over 100,000 people, damaged thousands of homes, closed schools and businesses, and disrupted power supplies as water levels in some streets reached three meters (nearly 10 feet). In the aftermath disaster officials reported 900 people suffering from respiratory illnesses, skin rashes and diarrhea.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail. With a few exceptions, the map progression shows a transition to near-normal conditions in much of the region by May.

For the next three months – shown in the December through February map – exceptional deficits will persist in Cambodia west of Tonlé Sap Lake. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for isolated pockets in central Thailand, and along the Gulf of Papua on New Guinea. Exceptional surpluses are forecast for Laos, central Vietnam, and eastern Gorontalo (Sulawesi, Indonesia). Severe to extreme surpluses are expected in southern Vietnam, the southern Malay Peninsula, and Java.

From March through May the extent of exceptional deficits will shrink in Cambodia. Exceptional surpluses will persist in central Vietnam but surpluses in Laos and eastern Gorontalo will diminish in both extent and severity, and surpluses on Java will nearly disappear. Moderate deficits may emerge in Malaysian Borneo in Kapit Division.

The forecast for the latter three months – Jun through August – indicates that moderate to severe deficits will emerge in Malaysia and Indonesia.

(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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