Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean: Water deficits in southern Mexico, Jamaica
31 January 2017
The Big Picture
The 12-month forecast ending September 2017 (below) indicates scattered moderate water deficits across much of Mexico along with pockets of extreme to exceptional deficits in the Baja Peninsula, southern Mexico, and the Yucatan Peninsula. Deficits are also forecast for Guatemala.
Mexico’s National Meteorological Service reported that more than 85 percent of Chiapas was affected by drought in 2016, and that in the second half of December nine municipalities reported extreme drought – seven in Oaxaca and two in Baja California.
Oaxaca’s Central Valley aquifer – which supplies drinking water to more than half a million people – is in danger of being depleted in 25 years, according to the director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Research in Integral Regional Development of the National Polytechnic Institute, due to reduced rainfall, urban growth, and changes in land use.
Drought in Central America is pushing young people out of their hometowns, migrating internally to find better opportunities, say researchers from the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and the University of Illinois. While migration northward to the US has gained much attention, the researchers looked at internal displacement, which would suggest the importance of regional planning policies.
he 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail.
The January through March forecast indicates persistent water deficits in southern Mexico including pockets of exceptional deficit in Michoacán, Guerrero, Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo. Scattered moderate deficits are forecast elsewhere in the country. Exceptional deficits on the Baja Peninsula are expected to nearly disappear. Moderate to severe deficits will persist in Guatemala, particularly in the south, and emerge in eastern Jamaica. Surpluses ranging from moderate to exceptional are forecast for eastern Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Haiti, and central Cuba.
From April through June water conditions in most of Mexico, including southern Mexico and the Yucatan, are forecast to be within the normal to moderate deficit range, with the exception of the Baja Peninsula where more severe deficits will re-emerge. Moderate deficits are expected to persist in Guatemala during this period. Conditions in Jamaica will return to near-normal. Aforementioned surpluses in Central America and the Caribbean are forecast to diminish in extent and severity and may transition to conditions of both surplus and deficit in Haiti.
(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)
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