The Big Picture
Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and the Malay Peninsula are forecast to continue in conditions of water deficit through February 2017 (below). Water surpluses are forecast for western Borneo, West Java, Flores Island, and West Papua, Indonesia.

The Economic Intelligence Center of Siam Commercial Bank estimates that the drought in Thailand could reduce GDP by 0.5% this year. Sugar production is expected to be reduced by 14%.

Prolonged dryness in Cambodia has created perfect conditions for a plague of armyworm caterpillars that is decimating crops in 10 provinces. Rice, bananas, watermelons, pumpkins, and beans have all been affected, and the potential for significantly reduced yields could threaten farmers' ability to repay loans.

Agricultural losses related to drought and saltwater intrusion in Vietnam are estimated to be $680 million, including rice, fruit trees, industrial crops, and aquaculture. By the end of May the number of households lacking drinking water was 288,259 according to the Department of Agricultural Economics. 

Torrential rains in Central Java, Indonesia triggered flooding and landslides that killed 35 people and 25 people remain missing. Five people are dead due to flooding in West Java, while flooding in West Sumatra killed one person and displaced thousands.

Forecast Breakdown
As seen in the 3-month maps below, deficits in the aforementioned areas of Southeast Asia will persist and continue to be widespread but will be less severe, transitioning from exceptional (greater than 40 years frequency of occurrence) to primarily moderate (5 to 10 year). However, deficits of exceptional severity are forecast for Timor from June through August. Deficits along the northern coast of New Guinea and in southern Papua New Guinea are forecast to gradually diminish through February.

From September through November moderate surpluses in western Sumatra will disappear and moderate deficits will emerge in Riau (central Sumatra) and spread throughout much of the island in the latter months of the forecast. Borneo is forecast to transition out of water surplus conditions from September through November, and moderate to severe deficits are expected to emerge in the northern and western parts of the island from December through February.

(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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