Mexico, Central America & the Caribbean: Exceptional deficits forecast in Mexico for Nayarit, Michoacán, and Puebla

29 March 2017

The Big Picture
The 12-month forecast ending November 2017 (below) indicates moderate to extreme water deficits in Mexico’s southern half and in the northern Baja Peninsula. Deficits are also forecast for Guatemala, El Salvador, and western Honduras.

Surpluses are forecast for eastern Haiti into western Dominican Republic, and Camaguey, Cuba.

Conagua, Mexico's National Water Commission, indicates that 35 percent of drought-afflicted municipalities are in the state of Oaxaca. The State Civil Protection Coordination of Oaxaca predicts a third consecutive year of the driest conditions in 75 years and river levels are well below normal. The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is in extreme drought; the Benito Juárez Dam in the region is down to 14 percent of capacity. Oaxaca's governor has asked the Natural Disasters Fund for 782 million pesos (US$4l.39 million) for the affected communities.

The long drought in Cuba, the worst in over 100 years, has left dams at 38 percent below capacity, 98 reservoirs below 25 percent, and 26 reservoirs completely dry. The government has been trucking in drinking water but with demand now exceeding capacity distribution is scheduled intermittently.

Heavy rains produced flooding in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, temporarily suspending flights at Gregorio Luperón International Airport and causing damage to commercial and residential areas. The Committee of Dams and Reservoirs authorized the release of water from the Tavera-Bao dam as a precautionary measure when it reached 326 meters above sea level, just short of its maximum level of 327.5.

Forecast Breakdown
The 3-month maps (below) show the evolving conditions in more detail.

Exceptional deficits are forecast in Mexico from March through May in Nayarit, Michoacán, and southern Puebla into northern Oaxaca; moderate to extreme deficits are forecast for the Yucatán Peninsula; and, moderate deficits are forecast for the Baja Peninsula, a central block of northern Mexico, and scattered across the south. Deficits are also forecast for Guatemala. Surpluses ranging from moderate to exceptional are forecast for eastern Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica.

The forecast map for June through August shows lighter shades of yellow and orange overall, indicating that deficits in the region are expected to diminish in severity. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for the northern Baja Peninsula, southern Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica are expected to transition from surplus to mild deficits. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast in Haiti.

The final quarter of the forecast period indicates the continued emergence of moderate to severe deficits in southern Mexico and northern Central America.

(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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