Central Asia: Water surpluses forecast in Kazakhstan, deficits in Turkmenistan

The Big Picture
Exceptional water surpluses are forecast in north central Kazakhstan, along rivers in Kazakhstan, and between the Ural and Emba Rivers northeast of the Caspian Sea. Exceptional surpluses are also forecast in Kyrgyzstan. Deficits are forecast throughout Turkmenistan and in Uzbekistan, with pockets of both deficits and surpluses in some areas. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast in the Volga River Basin in Russia. 

After five or six years in a row of deteriorating water supply farmers in Uzbekistan's westernmost district, Karakalpakstan, are leaving farms that no longer yield the bountiful rice harvests they once did - around four tons of rice per 10,000 square meters of cultivated land. Repeated droughts, an increase in water-intensive cotton cropping, and inefficient irrigation systems have strained reservoirs and ground-water. Other regions of the country are facing the same problem. 

Flooding in Astana, Kazakhstan impeded traffic on several central city streets. Rainfall in Almaty, Kazakhstan has exceeded all norms, reaching records not seen in 25 years. 

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions in more detail.

Water surpluses are forecast to persist along rivers in Kazakhstan for the entire 12-month forecast period, though a transition to conditions of both deficit and surplus is evident in the January through March map as abnormal to moderate deficits begin to emerge across the country. Moderate to severe deficits in Turkmenistan and parts of Uzbekistan are expected to persist through September, diminish in October, after which moderate deficits will re-emerge throughout both countries in November.

A vast expanse of moderate to exceptional water deficits across northern Russia from the White Sea through much of the Central Siberian Plateau is evident in the July through September forecast map. Surpluses are forecast in the southern portion of the Ob River Basin during this period which will persist and emerge in the northern portion of the basin from October through December. Surpluses in the Ob Basin are expected to be especially widespread and severe in October. Moderate surpluses are forecast on the Ob through March.

(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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