South Asia: Deficits forecast to moderate in Afghanistan

25 October 2018

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast through June 2019 indicates intense water deficits in Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh, India, and around Karachi, Pakistan. Severe deficits are forecast for Arunachal Pradesh in India’s Far Northeast, and moderate to severe deficits are expected in Afghanistan.

Surpluses ranging from severe to exceptional are forecast for Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, and Mizoram, India; Nepal; and Bangladesh. Surpluses are also expected along rivers in northern Pakistan, pockets of central India and a pocket in West Bengal.

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

Widespread exceptional deficits that have dominated Afghanistan in recent months will moderate overall through December, though deficits will remain more intense northeast of Kabul and along the Harirud River in the west. Moderate deficits are forecast for southern Pakistan, surpluses in the northeast, and conditions of both surplus and deficit along parts of the Sutlej River. In India, deficits will downgrade also but will be intense along the Tungabhadra River in the southwest, and in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Arunachal Pradesh. Exceptional surpluses will increase in northernmost India and will downgrade somewhat in Uttar Pradesh but remain severe to extreme. Moderate surpluses are forecast for: India’s southeastern coast; from southern Odisha to the Bay of Bengal; as well as Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

From January through March the pattern of surplus anomalies in India will remain much the same as the forecast for the prior three months while deficits increase and intensify overall, particularly in Karnataka, coastal Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh. Deficits in Afghanistan and Pakistan will continue to downgrade, becoming mild with some more intense areas including northeast of Kabul, Afghanistan. Surpluses will persist in Nepal, primarily in the west. Both surpluses and deficits are forecast for Bangladesh as transitions occur.

The forecast for the final month – April through June – indicates intense deficits in Madhya Pradesh, India, with moderate deficits to the south and west. Surpluses are forecast for Uttar Pradesh and India’s far north. Some moderate deficits will emerge in Bhutan, relatively mild deficit conditions are forecast for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and nearly normal conditions in Nepal and Bangladesh.

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

IMPACTS
The eastern Indian state of Bihar reported a 25 percent rainfall deficit following the end of the monsoon season late last month, leading to fears of reduced paddy yield this kharif crop season. Agriculture, which is typically rain-fed during the monsoon season, contributes about 18 percent of the state’s GDP and employs about 70 percent of its population.

Monsoon season in northern India, however, concluded with flash floods that killed 25 people and collapsed parts of buildings. Deaths were reported from Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and Haryana states. The city of Chandigarh recorded the wettest September in four years after exceeding the normal September rainfall by almost 100 mm (3.9 inches).

India’s Kerala State Electricity Board estimates losses to its infrastructure to be Rs 350 crore (USD $47 million), and revenue losses to be Rs 47 crore (USD $64 million) due to catastrophic floods and landslides in August.

Days of rainfall caused multiple landslides and floods in the Lamjung district of Nepal, killing at least two people last month.

Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Center said last month that over 700,000 people across 16 districts have been affected by drought conditions. The Center aims to distribute water to affected people and construct wells in areas of chili cultivation in the Hambantota district, where growers have suffered losses this year due to water shortage.

The CEOs of three beverage giants have been summoned by Pakistan’s Chief Judge for a case regarding their water use in the country, as Pakistan is facing dire drought-like conditions and has the highest water intensity rate, or amount water used per unit of GDP, in the world.

The provincial government of Sindh, Pakistan launched a relief program in the drought-stricken region of Tharparker to provide free wheat to over 200,000 families last month, after erratic rains in August created drought conditions.

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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