The Big Picture
Exceptional water deficits are forecast to persist across northern South America, as seen in the 12-month map (below). Severe to exceptional surpluses are forecast in Paraguay, across its eastern border into southern Brazil, and in central Argentina.

The prolonged drought in South America has had severe impacts on hydroelectricity production. Venezuela has ordered shopping malls to reduce their opening hours, has added three days to the upcoming Easter holiday to reduce workplace consumption, and has reduced the working day in public institutions as the Simon Boliver (Guri) dam, the nation's largest, fell to within three meters of its minimum operating level. According to its comptroller's office, Colombia is 130 megawatts away from widespread cuts. A fire at a hydro facility and mechanical failure at another added to the problems, and Colombia's Minister of Mines and Energy has resigned. Elsewhere on the continent, Chile's salmon industry has lost $800 million to an El Niño-triggered algal bloom which sparked massive fish kills.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) for the same 12-month period illustrate conditions in more detail. Deficits in Colombia and Venezuela are forecast to moderate somewhat March through May and may include a transition from deficits to exceptional surpluses in northwestern Venezuela.

Thereafter, deficits are forecast to re-emerge as exceptional drought June through November across much of northern South America. Surpluses are forecast to emerge across central Bolivia and Argentina and along rivers in Argentina March through November. A northward emergence of moderate surpluses across central Brazil is evident in the last quarter of the year.

(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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