ISciences Worldwide Water Watch List February 2018

15 February 2018

This map presents a selection of regions likely to encounter significant water anomalies during the one year period beginning in November 2017 and running through October 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 February 15, 2018 (pdf).

United States: The forecast for the next few months indicates relief from exceptional water deficits observed during the prior three months in the West and the Lower Mississippi states. However, widespread deficits remain in the forecast from California to the Mississippi, and from the Gulf of Mexico northward along the Eastern Seaboard through Massachusetts. Deficits will be especially intense in New Mexico, Missouri, and Virginia. Surpluses are forecast for Washington, Idaho, western Montana, and along the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers. The widespread distribution of deficits is expected to persist through July or longer.

Canada: The forecast through April indicates water conditions much the same as in the prior three months, with some overall shrinkage of anomalies in the eastern half of the country. One notable difference is the emergence of widespread intense surplus conditions in southern British Columbia. After April, much of the eastern half of the country will transition to deficit, retaining exceptional deficits in eastern Quebec, central Quebec, and the central Quebec/Ontario border. Deficits in the western provinces will diminish slightly, and intense surpluses will persist in parts of southern BC.

Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean: In the next few months, exceptional water deficits will retreat in northwestern Mexico but persist in southern Baja and emerge in Nayarit. Severe deficits are forecast in the north-central states and along the Rio Grande. Some pockets of surplus are expected in southern Mexico and northern Guatemala, and more intense surpluses in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. Severe deficit is forecast for western Cuba and the Bahamas. After April, deficits will downgrade in southern Baja and surpluses will emerge in western Mexico from Durango into Oaxaca.

South America: Exceptional water deficits are forecast to diminish considerably in the coming months, but pockets are forecast through April in southern Venezuela, Amapá (Brazil), western Brazil, western Ecuador, and around the Gulf of Corcovado in southern Chile. Deficits are also forecast in southern Colombia, northern Peru, Uruguay, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), and northeastern Argentina. Surplus is forecast in northeastern Venezuela, scattered throughout eastern Brazil, northern Bolivia, and eastern Paraguay. After April, the extent of anomalous water conditions will shrink.

Europe: Exceptional water surpluses will retreat but widespread surpluses will persist in European Russia and in parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Surpluses will emerge in southern Norway and northern Sweden. Intense deficits will persist in Estonia, Latvia, central Finland, and central Sweden. Deficits in southern France and the Mediterranean are expected to moderate but severe deficits will continue in Portugal, and deficits will emerge in Albania and eastern Greece. After April, much of Central and Eastern Europe will transition away from surplus to moderate deficit, joining southern Europe.

Africa: A notable improvement is forecast for southern Africa and the Horn of Africa where conditions will transition from intense to mild water deficit. Intense deficits are, however, forecast scattered across the southern Sahara and the Sahel, and in a stretch from southern Democratic Republic of the Congo through eastern Zambia into Malawi. Deficits of varying severity remain dominant in many other regions, but surpluses are forecast for northeastern South Sudan and Tanzania, and will be exceptional in Tanzania. After April, severe deficits will emerge across northern Africa and will persist in Zambia.

Middle East: Widespread exceptional water deficits are expected to moderate considerably through April, though deficits reaching extreme intensity are forecast in southeastern Iran. After April, deficits will increase overall in extent and severity, and are expected to be especially intense in Iran from the Persian Gulf to the Afghan border, and in southern Iraq near Basrah. Moderate deficits will emerge in Azerbaijan.

Central Asia and Russia: Exceptional water surplus in European Russia will shrink and downgrade, though widespread surpluses will continue to emerge and will remain intense from St. Petersburg to the Rybinsk Reservoir and in Murmansk. Exceptional surpluses will emerge in the Vakh River Basin stretching east across the Yenisei River between the Angara and Podkamennaya Tunguska Rivers. Deficits near Yekaterinburg will upgrade, deficits around Yamal will downgrade, and deficits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan will moderate. Kazakhstan will transition from surplus to deficit. After April, much of the region will transition to deficits of varying severity.

South Asia: Intense water deficits will persist in central India through April, after which a transition to surplus is forecast stretching coast to coast across the country’s middle. Until the transition, deficits will be extreme in Madhya Pradesh, western Chhattisgarh, western Karnataka, and eastern Andhra Pradesh, and moderate deficits will emerge in Odisha, Telangana, and southern Tamil Nadu. Intense surplus will persist in Bangladesh, nearby Indian states, and Nepal. Deficits in Afghanistan will downgrade but persist, as will deficits in northern Sri Lanka.

Southeast Asia and the Pacific: Exceptional water deficits will persist in western Cambodia through April. Deficits of varying severity are expected in Sumatra, Java, western Borneo, and Papua New Guinea. Intense surpluses are forecast for western and eastern Myanmar, northern Laos, along the Mekong River until it reaches Cambodia, and central Philippines. Surpluses are also forecast for Vietnam, pockets of Thailand, Brunei, and northeastern Borneo. After April, surpluses will retreat, Cambodia will transition to near-normal, and deficits are expected in Malaysia, Sumatra, and western Borneo.

East Asia: Exceptional water deficits will increase in Mongolia and China through April, creating a vast stretch from Xinjiang through Inner Mongolia. Exceptional deficits will emerge in Liaoning and extreme deficits in Hunan. Deficits are forecast to spread on the Korean Peninsula and may be intense near Seoul. Conditions of intense surplus remain in the forecast from Shanghai west through the Han River (Hanjiang) watershed, and exceptional surpluses will continue to emerge in northern Sichuan and Qinghai. Moderate to severe surpluses will continue to emerge around the Gulf of Tonkin and in Hainan.

Australia:  Widespread, exceptional water deficits observed in recent months in Australia are forecast to nearly disappear, though intense deficits will persist in Tasmania and near Busselton, WA. Through April, primarily moderate deficits are forecast from the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia through much of Victoria and into New South Wales; for central Queensland to the Gulf of Carpentaria; and, northwest to Darwin, where deficits may be more severe. Deficits are expected to retreat significantly in New Zealand, but will continue to emerge in New Caledonia.


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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