CENTRAL ASIA & RUSSIA: SEVERE WATER DEFICITS FORECAST ON THE AMU DARYA & ZARAVSHAN RIVERS

25 May 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast indicates intense deficits in Turkmenistan, eastern Uzbekistan, southern Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Deficits are expected to be severe along the Amu Darya River.

Surpluses reaching exceptional intensity are forecast in northern Kazakhstan and in parts of the south and eastern Kyrgyzstan. Moderate deficits are forecast along the Ural River from the Caspian Sea past Orenburg, Russia.

In European Russia surpluses are expected, with some areas of both surplus and deficit as conditions change. Moderate to severe deficit conditions are forecast for the Middle Ob River Basin, but severe surpluses are forecast along the Ishim and Irtysh Rivers to the south leading into Kazakhstan. Surpluses are also forecast for the Upper Ob region, the Vakh River Basin, and the Tom River Basin. Moderate to extreme deficits are forecast from the southern Yamal Peninsula into the Central Siberian Plateau.

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

The forecast through July in Russia indicates that surplus conditions will shrink in European Russia and transition to both deficit and surplus in the Northern European Plain. The Lower Ob will transition out of surplus to mild deficit, and moderate to exceptional deficits will develop in the Middle Ob region. Surpluses in the Upper Ob region and the Tom River Basin will downgrade somewhat; surpluses on the Ishim River will upgrade to extreme; and severe surpluses will persist on the Irtysh. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for the Ural River around Orenburg.

In Kazakhstan, surpluses reaching exceptional intensity will continue in the north. Primarily moderate deficits are forecast for Turkmenistan, and moderate to extreme deficits in eastern Uzbekistan, southern Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Deficits are expected to be severe along the Amu Darya and Zaravshan Rivers.

From August through October, deficits on the Amu Darya and Zaravshan will upgrade to extreme. Surpluses will persist in northern Kazakhstan and moderate deficits will emerge in much of the western half of the country. In Russia, deficits near Orenburg will moderate, as will deficits in the Middle Ob. Surpluses will persist in European Russia with some areas exhibiting both surplus and deficit as conditions change. Surpluses are also expected to persist in the Lower Ob and Tom River Basins. Deficits in the Central Siberian Plateau will generally downgrade. A complicated patchwork of water conditions is forecast for the Yenisei Basin.

The forecast for the final months – November through January – shows the re-emergence of intense surplus conditions in the Lower and Middle Volga regions in Russia. Deficits are forecast to downgrade but persist in Turkmenistan and its neighbors.

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

IMPACTS
It's been an extremely dry spring in the Vakhsh River Valley of Khatlon region, Tajikistan's largest agricultural region and home to three million people. The drought has thousands of farmers worried, some saying conditions are the worst in over half a century, as they watch wheat fields and pastures wither. 

Farther north in Sudgh region, water shortages have prompted some farmers to switch from water-intensive cotton to vegetables, moving production to greenhouses installed with drip-irrigation systems to increase water use efficiency.

In Russia's Orenburg Oblast, through which the Ural River flows, officials declared a high fire danger in early May. Spring snowmelt has been unusually weak in the region and Yekaterinburg, Russia's fourth largest urban area, is suffering from water shortages. Inflows to the Verkhnekamsk and Volchikhinsky reservoirs are low, and if the situation doesn't improve the city may end up buying water from a reservoir in neighboring Chelyabinsk Oblast as it did last year.

The Russian Republic of Dagestan was flooded by heavy rain this month. Floodwaters blocked vehicles in streets, inundated settlements, and washed away livestock and a water tankThe northeastern Sakha Republic (Yakutia) declared an emergency after flooding this month affected two settlements, displacing 150 people. An acute increase in temperatures beginning in late March caused rapid snowmelt which flooded Altai Republic, resulting in 1.39 billion rubles (US $22 million) in damages. 

A 2-megawatt capacity solar power plant opened in the Mangistau region of Kazakhstan this month, designed to provide 300 buildings with electricity. Construction of a desalination plant with a 50,000-cubic meter per day capacity began the same day and, once completed in 2020, will supply water to the Aktau, Munaishi, Zhanaozen and Zhetybai areas.

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.

Subscribe to our monthly Water Watch List


Search blog categories


Search blog tags

Comment

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.

For more information contact info@isciences.com.

Copyright 2018 ISCIENCES, L.L.C. Global Water Monitor & Forecast Watch List is the property of ISCIENCES, L.L.C. It is protected by U.S. copyright laws and may not be reproduced in any way without the written permission of ISCIENCES, L.L.C. The user assumes the entire risk related to its use of information on ISCIENCES, L.L.C. Web pages, including information derived from Water Security Indicators Model (WSIM). This information may include forecasts, projections and other predictive statements that represent ISCIENCES, L.L.C.’s assumptions and expectations in light of currently available information and using the highest professional standards. Actual results may differ from those projected. Consequently, no guarantee is presented or implied as to the accuracy of specific forecasts, projections or predictive statements contained herein. ISCIENCES, L.L.C. provides such information "as is," and disclaims any and all warranties, whether express or implied, including (without limitation) any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose. In no event will ISCIENCES, L.L.C. be liable to you or to any third party for any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special or exemplary damages or lost profit resulting from any use or misuse of this data.