Southeast Asia & the Pacific: Exceptional water deficits will persist in W Cambodia

9 February 2019

The 12-month forecast through September 2019 indicates severe to exceptional water deficits in much of western Cambodia and Thailand. Deficits are also forecast for the Philippines, northeastern and southern Borneo, southern Sumatra, and pockets in Sulawesi. In Papua New Guinea, deficits of varying intensity are expected with exceptional deficits in the south.

Surpluses are forecast for Myanmar, northern Laos, northern Vietnam and Dak Lak and nearby provinces in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Surpluses are expected to be exceptional in pockets of western Myanmar. Surpluses of lesser intensity are forecast in much of Sumatra and in northwestern Indonesian Borneo.

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

The near-term forecast through March indicates that exceptional deficits in western Cambodia will shrink somewhat but persist. Deficits in Thailand will downgrade but remain widespread. Conditions of both deficit and surplus (purple) are forecast in Myanmar as transitions occur, and deficits will emerge in the north, while moderate surpluses persist in the center of the country leading northeast. Moderate to severe surpluses are forecast for much of Vietnam, and exceptional surpluses will persist in north-central Laos while transitions occur in other areas of the country.

Deficits are forecast for the Philippines, eastern Borneo, northern Sulawesi, southern Sumatra, parts of the Lesser Sunda Islands, and Papua New Guinea. Deficits will be intense in southern Sumatra and around the Gulf of Papua in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Moderate to severe surpluses are forecast for most of Sumatra, western Indonesian Borneo, and pockets of Java.

From April through June, water anomalies will downgrade in many parts of the region. In Southeast Asia, deficits in Cambodia and Thailand will moderate; Laos and northern Vietnam will transition from surplus to moderate deficits; some moderate deficits will emerge in Vietnam’s southernmost provinces; and conditions in Myanmar will return to near-normal. Deficits of varying intensity are expected in the Philippines and will be intense in eastern Mindanao. Deficits will increase in PNG, reaching into Papua, Indonesia, but are expected to downgrade somewhat around the Gulf of Papua. Some scattered, primarily moderate deficits are expected in Malaysia and Indonesia, and pockets of moderate surplus in peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, and Flores Island.

The forecast for the final months – July through September – indicates moderate to severe deficit conditions in many parts of the region, with more intense conditions in the Lesser Sunda Islands.

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

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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