The Big Picture
The forecast through January 2017 (below) indicates water surpluses in India’s western midsection, in its northernmost states, in the Ganges Basin, and in much of Bangladesh. In general, water surpluses are forecast for eastern Afghanistan and deficits in the west. Deficits are expected to persist in southern Pakistan, and both deficits and surpluses are expected in the north.

The government estimates that 300,000 million people have been affected by India's drought and more than 300 died last month from heat-related causes, including an 11-year old girl who waited nearly 4 hours at a water pump in 42C temperatures (107.6F). In eastern Bihar daytime cooking was banned in an attempt to prevent accidental fires which have thus far claimed 79 lives. Nearly 1,000 migrants from the drought-stricken region of Marathwada in Maharashtra state are living in a makeshift camp outside Mumbai, hoping to attain work as day-laborers. Schools have closed, the sugar harvest is estimated to be the lowest in seven years, migratory bird counts are down, and child marriages are up as destitute farmers flock to cities for work, divesting of young daughters through hastily arranged illegal nuptials.

Amid criticism, India's Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti is determined to launch a massive water transfer system consisting of 30 links from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges.

Pakistan's textile industry, which accounts for almost 9 percent of GPD, is struggling with energy shortages and poor local cotton supply forcing the world's fourth largest producer of cotton to import $4 billion worth. According to the Federal Committee Cotton on Agriculture (FCC), Pakistan's cotton production has fallen from an estimated 15.5 million bales to 10.9 million. Exports of finished textiles have also fallen; an operations manager at one of Pakistan's oldest exporters cited export figures of 100 shipping containers a month had dropped to 30.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail, with a dramatic difference between India’s dominant and exceptional water deficits shown in the February through April map and the emergence of water surpluses in subsequent months. These surpluses will begin to emerge in isolated pockets during May; one pocket of exceptional surplus is forecast from eastern Andhra Pradesh southward through Chennai and beyond. From July onward water surpluses will emerge in a large part of India’s western midsection and in parts of the Ganges Basin. Exceptional surpluses are forecast in August along the Gandaki River in central Nepal, to the eastern Ganges River in India, to the Padma River in Bangladesh. Deficits are forecast to emerge in Assam and other northeastern Indian states in June and persist through January.

Surpluses are forecast in eastern Afghanistan from May through July. Surpluses are forecast along primarily the northern branch of the Indus River in Pakistan during this period.

(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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