Europe: Moderate to severe water deficits ahead for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania

21 September 2017

The Big Picture
The 12-month forecast ending May 2018 indicates a continuing trend of widespread water deficits in many parts of Europe which are expected to be exceptional in Italy, around the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and in Finland, Estonia, and Latvia.

Severe to exceptional water surpluses are forecast in western Russia and northern Sweden, and surpluses of lesser severity are forecast for southern Scotland.

The drought in southern Portugal has been so bad that the potential for a mass fish die-off in the region's reservoirs presents a health hazard to the local drinking water supply. Officials are promoting a preventative program to scoop the floundering masses out of four Sado River Basin reservoirs with a goal of harvesting over 100 metric tons in six weeks. The Pego do Altar reservoir is at 11 percent of capacity and more than 80 percent of the country is classified as in conditions of severe or extreme drought, the worst in over 20 years.

In Boznia and Herzegovina, hot, dry conditions have nearly destroyed the corn crop in Republic of Srpska (RS), with similar losses to wheat and vegetable crops, raising the specter of higher food prices this fall. The RS government has accelerated incentive payments to farmers since the beginning of August and anticipates that it will deplete nearly 50 percent of its 60 million BAM (US$36.8 million) annual agrarian budget by the end of August, an unprecedented outlay.

Abnormally low soil-moisture conditions persist in Italy, as verified by satellite data. "We will need a significant amount of rainfall to replenish the water lost in the last eight months," stated Luca Brocca of Italy's Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection. The receding shoreline of Lake Bracciano north of Rome is so pronounced it can easily be seen in satellite images.

Winter grain sowing began in Ukraine despite hot, dry conditions in the east and south. Agrimino, an agribusiness operator in Ukraine, has cut its forecast for autumn-harvested crops such as corn, soybeans and sunflowers, citing a six-year low in rainfall levels, and the country's weather center is predicting that the corn harvest could be 10 to 15 percent below initials expectations.

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

As is clear in the map progression, the extent of exceptional water deficits is expected to diminish considerably in the coming months. From September through November moderate deficits are expected throughout much of Europe, exceptional deficits in Finland, and severe deficits in Slovakia, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. Severe to exceptional surpluses will persist in western Russia, continuing through February. Moderate to extreme surpluses are forecast for northern Sweden and a pocket in central Germany in the Harz Mountains. Moderate surpluses are expected in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

After November most areas of deficits will return to near-normal conditions, though a band of intense deficits is forecast for Lapland in northern Finland. As previously mentioned, intense surpluses will persist in western Russia. Moderate surpluses are forecast through February in the UK, Germany, western Czechia (Czech Republic), northern Poland, and longer in Switzerland, Norway, and northern Sweden.

In the remaining months of the forecast – March through May 2018 – primarily moderate water deficits are expected to emerge across much of Europe.

(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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