21 June 2018

The 12-month forecast (below) indicates exceptional water deficits in North Africa and exceptional surpluses in East Africa.

Exceptional deficits are forecast in southeast Algeria and northern Niger, across Libya, Egypt, and northern Sudan. Deficits of equal intensity are expected in southern Eritrea, Djibouti and across the border into Somalia; Gabon; southwest Namibia; and a pocket in central Northern Cape, South Africa.

Moderate to extreme deficits are forecast in Nigeria south of the Benue River, eastern Central African Republic, northern Ethiopia, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Primarily moderate deficits are forecast for West Africa down through Sierra Leone, and in Angola and northern Namibia.

In East Africa exceptional surplus conditions are forecast for much of Tanzania and surpluses nearly as intense for Kenya, northern Uganda, and the White Nile through South Sudan. Surpluses are also forecast for northern Madagascar, northern Morocco, the central coast of Algeria, south-central Ethiopia, and pockets around the Gulf of Guinea.

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

The forecast through August indicates that exceptional deficits across North and West Africa will diminish but severe to exceptional deficits are expected in southeast Algeria, northern Niger, Libya, Egypt, and northern Sudan. Deficits will shrink and downgrade in Gabon but remain severe, as will deficits south of the Benue River in Nigeria and across the border into Cameroon. Deficits are expected to downgrade in Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, becoming primarily moderate. Deficits will persist in western Zambia and are expected to be extreme on the Kafue River. Moderate surpluses will emerge in northwestern Zambia, but deficits will persist east of the Chambeshi River in the north and around Zambia’s conjoined borders with Malawi and Mozambique. Moderate to exceptional deficits are forecast to emerge in central Botswana.

Exceptional surpluses will persist in Tanzania, Kenya, and northern Uganda, but will diminish somewhat in northern Madagascar. Surpluses east of Kinshasa in DRC will increase in both extent and intensity, becoming severe. Elsewhere, surpluses are forecast to: shrink in south-central Ethiopia; downgrade slightly on the White Nile through South Sudan; shrink and downgrade in western Central African Republic and southeastern Cameroon; emerge in moderate pockets in countries along the north coast of the Gulf of Guinea; and persist in northern Morocco and along Algeria’s central coast.

From September through November moderate to exceptional deficits will continue to emerge across North Africa but exceptional deficits will shrink considerably. Surpluses will remain intense in Tanzania but will shrink and downgrade in Kenya. Aforementioned surpluses in Morocco and Algeria will downgrade, and moderate surpluses remain in the forecast around the Gulf of Guinea. Primarily moderate deficits are expected in the center of the continent and mild deficits in the south. Deficits in Zambia will remain severe, including along the Kafue River. Moderate surpluses will increase in Lesotho and westward along the Orange River in South Africa until it meets the Vaal in the center of the country, picking up again on the Lower Orange along the southern border of Namibia.

The forecast for the final quarter – December through February – indicates moderate deficits across much of the continent with moderate surpluses in East Africa.

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

Cyclone Sagar, the strongest cyclone ever recorded in Somalia, formed in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and northern Somalia last month. The storm killed at least 53 people, and hundreds of thousands of others were affected by damages to homes, livestock, crops, and infrastructure. Sagar produced almost a year’s worth of rain in northern Somalia, whose drought-stricken lands were nearly devoid of vegetation, exacerbating destructive flooding. Flooding in Somalia this year is expected to leave 1.25 million children acutely malnourished, and flooding across the greater eastern African region this season is projected to further strain food-insecure countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti.

Three months after the taps to its ordinary water supply ran dryBouaké, the second-largest city in Ivory Coast and home to 800,000 people, is contemplating a scheme to pipe in water from Lake Kossou 100 kilometers (60 miles) away. Recent drilling attempts to access groundwater have failed, and water is now trucked in by tankers and distributed to residents. While city officials blame the shortage on drought resulting from climate change, residents cite mismanagement of the water supply. The cost of the proposed pipeline: 45 million euros (USD $53 million).

Heavy rains between September and May are being blamed in part for a recent malaria outbreak in Angola that has killed nearly 4,000 people. Stagnant waters caused by excessive rainfall and poor drainage systems provided ample breeding grounds for mosquitos, vectors of the disease-causing parasite.

With nearly a half million Mauritanians - 14 percent of the population - likely to experience severe food insecurity in the coming months, the country is facing its worst food crisis in five years. Drought this year has led to meager harvests, and many of the country's rural poor flocked to urban areas to end Ramadan fasts at food tents set up by charitable organizations.

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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