Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean: Water deficits in Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta, Puebla

20 July 2017

The Big Picture
The 12-month forecast ending in March 2018 (below) generally shows moderate drought throughout much of Mexico, El Salvador, portions of Guatemala, western Cuba, and western Puerto Rico. Deficits are expected to be stronger in Nayarit on Mexico’s central Pacific coast.

Surpluses are forecast for eastern Haiti, southern Nicaragua, northern Costa Rica, and portions of Panama, with extreme to exceptional surpluses in Costa Rica.

Severe drought in Nayarit, Mexico has caused mango production to drop between 30 and 70 percent, as reported by SAGARPA (Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food). The state cultivates 25,000 hectares of the fruit, and producers have suffered the greatest losses in the ataulfo variety, also called honey mango. The state's sugarcane production was 10 percent lower than expected, also due to extremely dry conditions. 

In Sinaloa, just north of Nayarit, 13 of the state's 18 municipalities are in severe drought, and 400 communities are without drinking water, relying on water trucks. Cattle are dying from lack of pasture, as is also the case in some parts of the State of Coahuila to the east.

As of mid-July CONAGUA, Mexico's national water commission, reports that 12 municipalities in the State of Veracruz are in severe drought with an additional 12 in moderate drought. Rice producers in the Papaloapan Basin have recorded losses over 300,000 pesos, and 200 hectares had to be replanted. An estimated 20 tons of rice has been lost by around 50 producers, some of whom could end up with nothing from this year's crop, according to the president of the National Council of Rice Producers.

Heavy rains produced flooding in several provinces of Costa Rica, forcing the evacuation of some parts of the Costa Rican Institute of Technology campus in Cartago as well as students at a high school in Agua Caliente. 

Extreme climate events are preventing some Caribbean nations from attaining middle-income country status, says one regional diplomat. The senior official, chargé d’affaires at the Eastern Caribbean States Embassy to Belgium and Mission to the European Union, noted that costs associated with even single event disaster clean-up and reclamation can devastate GDP, citing events that wiped out 17 to 90 percent of GDP in a matter of hours.

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

While the July through September forecast shows a significant retreat of intense deficits in Mexico and western Cuba, exceptional deficits are forecast along Mexico’s central Pacific coast in Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta, and in pockets of Puebla and near Mexico City. Conditions in Haiti are forecast to transition from surplus to both deficit and surplus. Surpluses will diminish in southern Mexico and Central America, transitioning to deficits in southern Mexico, southern Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Beyond September deficits in Mexico will continue to diminish to primarily mild, but moderate deficits will emerge throughout much of Central America and may increase in intensity in the later months.

(It should be noted that forecast skill declines with longer lead times.)

Note on Administrative Boundaries
There are numerous regions around the world where country borders are contested. ISciences depicts country boundaries on these maps solely to provide some geographic context. The boundaries are nominal, not legal, descriptions of each entity. The use of these boundaries does not imply any judgement on the legal status of any territory, or any endorsement or acceptance of disputed boundaries on the part of ISciences or our data providers. 


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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