South Asia: Exceptional water deficits forecast for Gujarat, Maharashtra, & Karnataka

17 December 2018

The 12-month forecast through August 2019 indicates intense water deficits throughout India’s southern half including exceptional deficits in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, as well as Bihar in the eastern Gangetic Plain. Severe to extreme deficits are forecast for India’s Far Northeast reaching into Bhutan. Moderate deficits are expected in southwestern Afghanistan and southern Pakistan.

Surpluses ranging from severe to exceptional are forecast in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Punjab, India. Primarily moderate surpluses are forecast for eastern Bangladesh and Indian states to the east, but surpluses may be extreme in Chittagong Division, Bangladesh. Surpluses are also expected along the northern Indus River in Pakistan.

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

The near-term forecast through February indicates a vast block of exceptional deficits in India from Gujarat through Maharashtra and Karnataka, and deficits of varying severity in many regions south of the Gangetic Plain and to the west in Rajasthan. Intense deficits are also forecast in parts of India’s Far Northeast and into Bhutan. Intense surpluses are expected to persist in northern India in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Both deficits and surpluses are forecast in the western Gangetic Plain as surpluses recede and deficits emerge, with similar conditions in Nepal.

Primarily moderate deficits are expected in northern Afghanistan though conditions may be more intense northeast of Kabul and along the Harirud River in the west. Some pockets of moderate deficit are forecast for southern Pakistan, with more intense deficits possible in Karachi and east of Hyderabad. Conditions of both surplus and deficit are forecast along the Ravi and Sutlej Rivers in the northeast. In Bangladesh, surpluses are forecast in the east and may be exceptional in Chittagong Division.

From March through May, deficits in India are expected to moderate overall and some regions in the country’s eastern third will normalize. However, intense deficits will persist throughout Gujarat, in central Madhya Pradesh, along the Tungabhadra River through Karnataka, and in pockets of the southern states. Surpluses are expected to re-emerge in the western Gangetic Plain and along the Chambal River. Surpluses in the north will downgrade somewhat and moderate surpluses will re-emerge in Punjab. In Pakistan, moderate surpluses will re-emerge along rivers in the north, while intense deficits around Karachi in the south increase slightly. Northern Afghanistan will transition out of deficit to some areas of moderate surplus, and deficits along the Harirud River will nearly disappear. Moderate surpluses will re-emerge in Nepal and western Bangladesh, while deficits in Chittagong downgrade to moderate.

The forecast for the final months – June through August – indicates moderate to severe deficits emerging throughout much of India and into Nepal and Bangladesh. Moderate surpluses are forecast along the northern Indus River in Pakistan.

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

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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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