The Big Picture
Water deficits are forecast to persist with particular severity in Thailand and Malaysia through January 2017 as seen in the 12-month map (below). Surpluses dominate the forecast for southern Borneo and West Java.

Food, water, community, education - basic platforms of human productivity - have been severely disrupted by drought in Southeast Asia. Rice prices have soared to a two-year high in Thailand and fruit production is down 20% in the eastern region. Coffee production in Vietnam - the world's largest producer of robusta beans - is expected to fall by 30%. 

In Malaysia 250 schools closed due to water shortages. In Cambodia - where over a third of schools are affected by the drought and 50% of children lack sufficient water - the school day has been ordered shortened. Record-breaking temperatures of 44.6°C (112.4°F) in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia have exacerbated already difficult conditions. Leaving drought-ravaged farms in their home region, 81 illegal migrants - men, women, and children - from Cambodia's Siem Reap province were arrested in Thailand.

In Indonesia flooding is taking a toll. In the Indonesian port city of Semarang flooding left homes, markets, post offices, and the local police station underwater. Seasonal high tides reached 1.16 meters (3.80 feet) in some areas, causing traffic jams up to 15 kilometers (9 miles) long. According to one resident, the waters appear to be getting higher and higher each year. Seventeen university students died in flooding and landslides that hit North Sumatra.

Forecast Breakdown
From May through July (see below) severe to exceptional water deficits are forecast in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Malay Peninsula, northern Borneo, the Philippines, the island of Timor, and southern and eastern Papua New Guinea. Severe to exceptional surpluses are forecast in western Borneo and West Java during this period.

Deficits are forecast on the island of Timor from June through October and may be particularly widespread and exceptional July through September. Surpluses will continue to emerge across much of Java from August through November. Sumatra will transition from primarily water surplus to water deficit conditions from September through the remainder of the forecast 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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