The Big Picture
Though modest water surpluses are in the 12-month forecast (below) fanning out from Gujarat, India, water deficits are expected from Maharashtra south, in central Odisha, north of Delhi, and in the Thar Desert. Surpluses are forecast in Jammu and Kashmir, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. In general, water surpluses are forecast for eastern Afghanistan and deficits in the west. Deficits are expected to persist in southwestern Pakistan, and surpluses are expected north of Islamabad and along portions of northern rivers.
India's cotton planting is at a seven-year low due to dry weather conditions, and the Cotton Association of India estimates that output from the world's biggest producer will be down 4.2 million bales from last year. Both drought and unseasonal rainfall have reduced domestic production of wheat as well forcing India to import 500,000 tons from Australia and France. Sugarcane farmers are burning withered fields to protest an administrative ban on using river water for agricultural irrigation. India plans to introduce a 25 percent tax on sugar exports to maintain local supplies.
The Pakistan Council of Research on Water Resources warns that the country could run out of water by 2025, and the Pakistan Economy Watch estimates an annual loss of $3.5 billion to the national economy due to lack of water storage capacity and differences over the construction of dams. Current water shortages in some sectors of Islamabad prompted a protest by activists and residents.
In Sri Lanka over 100 people have died after days of torrential rainfall and hundreds of thousands have been displaced. Temporary shelters are currently housing at least 111,900 and 180 people are still missing.
The 3-month composites (below) show the evolving conditions. Deficits that have encompassed much of India (shown in the March through May map) are expected to diminish June through August, and exceptional deficits in Gujarat will transition to moderate surpluses. Moderate surpluses are also forecast fanning eastward from Gujarat into Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, in West Bengal, and along the Gandaki River in central Nepal and the eastern Ganges River in India during this period. Moderate to exceptional surpluses are forecast in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh June through August. Moderate surpluses are forecast to emerge in eastern Andhra Pradesh in October and persist through February.
Deficits are forecast to begin emerging in Bhutan and northeastern Indian states in July and increase in severity and extent through February. Deficits will also affect Myanmar in the later months of the forecast, along with much of India and Pakistan.
(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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