ISciences Worldwide Water Watch List January 2018

16 January 2018


This map presents a selection of regions likely to encounter significant water anomalies during the one year period beginning in October 2017 and running through September 2018 using 3 months of observed temperature and precipitation data and 9 months of forecast data.

The synopsis that follows provides highlights of regional water forecasts. Regional details are available in ISciences Global Water Monitor & Forecast Watch List January 16, 2018 (pdf).

United States: Water deficits in the Southwest and Southern California will moderate overall in the near-term. Intense deficits will spread in Missouri, persist in northern Louisiana and central Mississippi into central Alabama, and emerge in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. Surpluses are forecast for Idaho, western Montana, southern Wyoming, central Nebraska, Minnesota into Wisconsin, and Michigan. After March, primarily moderate deficits will continue to emerge from California to North Carolina, and surpluses are forecast for Idaho, western Montana, northwestern Wyoming, and along the Columbia, Missouri, and Yellowstone Rivers.

Canada: The near-term forecast indicates a pattern of water anomalies much like the prior three months. Widespread surpluses will continue in northeastern Quebec, central Ontario, west of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, near Churchill Lake in Saskatchewan and into Alberta, the central border of Alberta and British Columbia, and southeastern BC. Deficit areas include: central Quebec and the Ontario/Quebec border; northwestern Ontario into central Manitoba; and southern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan. After March, surpluses in Quebec and Ontario will transition to deficit.

Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean: Intense water deficits across northwestern Mexico are expected to moderate from January through March, but moderate to severe deficits will spread in the north-central states. Intense deficits will emerge in Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, and Michoacán. Deficits in western Cuba will moderate. Significant surpluses are expected to persist in Honduras, Nicaragua, northern Costa Rica, and Jamaica. After March, deficits are forecast in northern Mexico, moderate surpluses along the southwestern coast, and surpluses in Central America will diminish.

South America: A number of significant transitions are forecast for the next three months. Though exceptional water deficits will diminish across northern South America – transitioning to surplus in many northern nations and the northern Amazon Basin – deficits will intensify in eastern Brazil. Surpluses are forecast to emerge throughout Paraguay and into southern Brazil. Surpluses in Uruguay will transition to moderate deficit; Buenos Aires Province, Argentina will transition from surplus to near-normal. After March, water anomalies will moderate considerably across most of the continent.

Europe: The forecast indicates a transition in April to water deficits across much of Europe, but until then widespread surpluses will persist in Northern, Central, Eastern Europe, and European Russia and are expected to be exceptional in Russia, northern Poland, northwestern Ireland, and along the Dnieper River in Ukraine. Deficits will continue to emerge in Southern Europe, particularly the Iberian Peninsula, but will retreat significantly in France, persisting only along the southern coast. Intense deficits will emerge in Crimea, and will persist in northern Finland and northern Norway.

Africa: Most areas of exceptional water deficit will downgrade through March. Moderate deficits are expected across northern Africa, with more severe conditions in Morocco, Western Sahara, and Guinea-Bissau. Intense deficits are also forecast for southeastern Nigeria, southwestern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Intense deficits will retreat in southern Africa. Surpluses will linger in southern Sudan, northeastern South Sudan, Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and northern Madagascar. After March deficits in northern Africa will intensify, but south of the Sahara milder conditions will prevail.

Middle East: Widespread exceptional deficits are expected to moderate considerably through March, but intense deficits will continue to emerge in southeastern Turkey, Syria, Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast throughout Iran. Deficits in Qatar, UAE, and Yemen will downgrade to primarily moderate. After March, deficits on the Arabian Peninsula are expected to resume prior intensity and deficits will emerge throughout Turkey and in nearby Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, completing a picture of deficits blanketing the entire Middle East.

Central Asia and Russia: The forecast through March indicates exceptional surpluses in European Russia, along the Middle Ob River, the Tom River Basin, and Aktobe Region, Kazakhstan. Surpluses are also forecast for much of the Yenisei River. Exceptional deficits are expected in the Yamal Peninsula. Intense deficits are forecast for Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. After March, surpluses in Russia are forecast to diminish. Deficits will downgrade in Yamal, persist in Turkmenistan, and spread in Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Moderate deficits will emerge in the Caucasus, western Kyrgyzstan and western Tajikistan.

South Asia: Intense water deficits are forecast to persist in Madhya Pradesh, India through June 2018. Through March, deficits will spread throughout much of India. Intense deficits will persist in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, and will emerge in eastern Gujarat. Deficits will be moderate in southern Pakistan but more severe in Afghanistan. Exceptional surpluses will continue in Bangladesh and nearby states in India. After March, water anomalies will downgrade overall, but deficits will persist in Madhya Pradesh and will emerge in India’s far northeast, and surpluses will re-emerge in the Pennar River Basin.

Southeast Asia and the Pacific: Though water deficits persist in western Cambodia and Papua New Guinea, surpluses have dominated the rest of the region but will gradually transition to moderate deficit. Through March, exceptional surpluses are forecast in Myanmar, northern Laos, and northern Vietnam; less intense surpluses in southern Laos, eastern Cambodia, southern Vietnam, the Philippines, and Sumatra; and exceptional deficits in western Cambodia and northern Papua New Guinea. Mild deficits will emerge in Indonesia, and continue to emerge overall after March.

East Asia: The near-term forecast indicates a vast stretch of exceptional water deficit from Xinjiang through southern Mongolia and eastern Inner Mongolia, and in Shandong, China. Severe to extreme deficits will continue to emerge in South Korea, and the extent of deficits in Fujian and Guangdong will increase somewhat. Exceptional surpluses will continue to emerge in the Han River (Hanjiang) watersheds and the eastern stretch of the Ordos Loop of the Yellow (Huang) River. After March exceptional deficits and surpluses will retreat but some areas of intense anomalies will persist.

AustraliaExceptional deficits observed in recent months are forecast to nearly disappear, though intense deficits will persist in western Tasmania and the southwestern tip of Western Australia. The near-term forecast includes moderate deficits in South Australia, becoming more intense past the Eyre Peninsula and along Victoria’s coast. Moderate deficits are expected in the eastern Murray-Darling Basin which may be more severe in Riverina, and moderate deficits are forecast for New Zealand. After March, deficits will be mild overall but more severe in Busselton, Tasmania, and New Zealand.


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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