SOUTHEAST ASIA & THE PACIFIC: WATER SURPLUS FORECAST FOR MYANMAR, VIETNAM, PHILIPPINES

27 March 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month map (below) indicates intense water surplus in central Philippines, Brunei, and far eastern Java, Bali, and Flores in eastern Indonesia. Surpluses of lesser severity are forecast for central Vietnam, southernmost Thailand, Malaysia, northern Sumatra, and Borneo.

Extreme water deficits are expected around the Gulf of Papua, becoming moderate inland, along with some moderate deficits in northern Papua New Guinea. Moderate deficits are also forecast for northern Myanmar.

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

In the near-term forecast through May, Cambodia continues to stand out in Southeast Asia with pockets of exceptional deficit in western provinces surrounding Tonlé Sap. Surplus conditions are forecast for much of the rest of Southeast Asia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. In Myanmar, exceptional surplus conditions are expected west of the Irrawaddy River, while moderate to extreme surpluses are forecast in the east around the Salween River and across the border into northwestern Thailand and trailing south. Surpluses of varying severity are forecast for nearly all of Laos and Vietnam and may be intense around the Gulf of Tonkin. Primarily moderate surpluses are forecast for the Malay Peninsula and scattered pockets of northern Sumatra, but more severe surpluses are expected in Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, and northeastern Indonesia Borneo into northern Sulawesi. Severe to exceptional surplus conditions are forecast during this period for central Philippines. Deficits will emerge in the southern tip of Sumatra and into Java. Deficits in Papua New Guinea are expected to nearly disappear, persisting around the Gulf of Papua.

As is apparent in the Jun-Aug map, surpluses in the region will retreat considerably, leaving moderate to severe conditions in central Philippines and the Kra Isthmus in southern Myanmar and Thailand. Some pockets of moderate surplus are forecast to emerge on New Guinea, particularly in the western half of the island. Primarily moderate deficits are forecast in northern and western Myanmar, Peninsular Malaysia, pockets of northern and southern Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, Timor-Leste, and around the Gulf of Papua.

After August, deficits are forecast to emerge throughout much of Southeast Asia, and surpluses are forecast in parts of Indonesia.

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

IMPACTS
Several hours of heavy rains caused flooding in Bangkok Thailand this month, inundating portions of an expressway and causing a semi-truck loaded with sandbags to overturn. The heaviest rainfall - 164.5 mm (6.5 inches) - was reported in Bang Khae district. In an effort to prevent future flooding in the capital, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration cleared canals and sewer drains of water-borne weeds and other clogging agents. The administration’s flood prevention plan aims to halve the water drainage time of the city by installing pumps and unclogging over 8400 kilometers (5,000 miles) of sewer lines and canals.

Days of heavy rain flooded thousands of homes and caused a landslide on the Indonesian island of Java, killing at least five people and injuring 14 others in late February.

Singapore’s implementation of a national water conservation strategy has succeeded in its first year, as the national per-capita water consumption has dropped by five liters (1.3 gallons) per day. Last year the government implemented a hike in water prices for the first time in 17 years to increase funding for water infrastructure and encourage conservation. Along with raising prices, the government’s water program implemented mandates on water fixture (e.g., taps, toilet bowls) suppliers to label products with water efficiency ratings, and a pilot program enabling individuals to track their water use through a mobile app. The drop in daily use from 148 to 143 liters (39 to 37.7 gallons) exceeds the government’s 2020 target of 147 liters per day.

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.

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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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