Central Asia & Russia: Water surpluses forecast for Volga River Basin, & from Ob to Tom River

25 May 2017

The Big Picture
The 12-month map (below) indicates widespread water deficits, including pockets of exceptional deficits, forecast in northern Russia from the Yamal Peninsula through the Central Siberian Plateau and continuing east to the Sea of Okhotsk.

Surpluses are forecast in Russia for the Volga River Basin, the Irtysh, and the Upper Ob River and between the Ob and the Tom Rivers. Surpluses are also forecast in large pockets throughout Kazakhstan, in eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and western Tajikistan. 

Heavy rains in southwest Kyrgyzstan triggered a landslide that buried 11 homes in the Osh region in late April, killing 2 dozen people including 9 children. The landslide in Ayu village (Ayusai in Uzgen District) was the country's deadliest since 2004 when 33 people perished.

A mudflow created by river levels swollen from heavy rains in eastern Tajikistan's  Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region claimed the lives of a young mother and her 2-year old child in Sagirdasht village.

Over 100 people were evacuated as flooding hit Zarechny village in North Kazakhstan Region in late April. Flooding was also reported in the village of Talapker, near Astana in Akmola District as the Yesil and Nura Rivers overflowed. Since mid-April many areas of northern and central Kazakhstan have been hit by heavy rainfall.

Excessive precipitation near Moscow, Russia caused an increase in the water level at Rybinsk Reservoir, prompting officials to order a planned discharge through spillways which led to flooding on the Volga River in Yaroslav.

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

The May through July forecast map clearly indicates a retreat of widespread exceptional water deficits in northern Russia observed in the prior three months. However, drier than normal conditions will persist from the Yamal Peninsula through the Central Siberian Plateau to the Sea of Okhotsk, and may be especially intense between the Taz and Yenisei Rivers; north of the Lower Tungusta River (Nyzhnyaya Tungusta), a tributary of the Yenisei in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Siberia; and, roughly, east of the Lena River to the Sea of Okhotsk. Surpluses are forecast in the Volga River Basin, the Irtysh, and the Upper Ob River and between the Ob and the Tom Rivers, which are forecast to reach exceptional severity.

Surpluses will continue to emerge in the following areas of Kazakhstan and may also be of exceptional severity: Aktobe Region; northern Kostanay Region; a north/south line down the middle of Kazakhstan into central Karagandy; Jambyl Region; Almaty Region; and eastern East Kazakhstan.

Surpluses are also forecast for eastern Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Moderate deficits are forecast for Turkmenistan and central Uzbekistan.

The forecast for August through October shows a similar geographic distribution of anomalies as the May through July forecast but with some changes in conditions. Deficits across northern Russia are forecast to diminish in severity and extent while those in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan increase. Exceptional surpluses in the Volga River Basin will increase somewhat, and surpluses in Kazakhstan will transition to conditions of both surplus and deficit in Aktobe, as well as central, southern, and eastern parts of the country.

The forecast for the final three months continues to show a complex pattern of water anomalies in the region.

(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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