The Big Picture
Water deficits are forecast to persist in mainland Southeast Asia, as well as other parts of Southeast Asia, through December 2016 as seen in the 12-month map (below).*

The drought in Southeast Asia and parts of the Pacific has devastated agricultural production, resulting in crop loss, food insecurity, loss of income and livelihood, and social unrest. Vietnam's "rice basket," the Mekong Delta, has fallen victim to the duel threat of drought and saltwater intrusion, which have ruined rice paddies and killed fruit crops. Officials estimate that drought recovery will cost the country US$1.5 billion, and 575,000 people face fresh water shortages. Over 200 fish farms in Thailand have closed, and rice farmers turned street vendors are selling fried scorpions and grilled mice to make a living. 

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has warned that climate change will affect food security. A protest by 6,000 farmers in Mindanao over government drought response turned violent, resulting in at least one death and dozens of injuries.

Some islands in Micronesia have seen little or no rain since the end of last year and could run out of water entirely in the next several weeks.

Forecast Breakdown
From April through June (see below) severe to exceptional water deficits are forecast in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Malay Peninsula, Brunei, the Philippines, and southern Papua New Guinea. Surpluses are forecast to continue in western Borneo and West Java during this period.

Deficits are forecast on the island of Timor from July through October and may be particularly widespread and severe in September. Surpluses are forecast in Java October through December.

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

* Please note that effective March 28, 2016 NOAA changed the initialization procedure for CFSv2 to address issues with unrealistically cold sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean. As a result, this month's Watch List is based on an ensemble of 14 CFSv2 forecasts issued after this fix was implemented instead of the normal 28. For more information see and


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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