Central Asia & Russia: Water deficits forecast in Fergana Valley

28 March 2019

The 12-month forecast through November 2019 indicates moderate to severe deficits in the Volga River Basin’s Middle and Upper regions in Russia, and moderate to extreme deficits in the bulk of the Yenisei River Basin.

Surpluses of varying intensity are forecast in the Middle Ob River Basin and in the northern portion of the Tom River Basin in Russia.

Moderate to severe deficits are forecast for northern Turkmenistan, central Uzbekistan, and western Kazakhstan. Severe to extreme deficits are forecast for the Fergana Valley in eastern Uzbekistan reaching across Kyrgyzstan’s narrow girth. Surpluses are expected in eastern Kyrgyzstan and could reach exceptional intensity. Surpluses are also forecast in Kazakhstan south of Lake Balkash, scattered pockets in northern Kazakhstan, and western Tajikistan.

The 3-month composites (below) for the same 12-month period show the evolving conditions in more detail.

The forecast through May indicates that surpluses in the Ob River Basin of Russia will shrink somewhat and downgrade, with exceptional surpluses nearly disappearing. In the Yenisei River Basin, deficits are forecast in the lower reaches; surpluses along the Kureyka River, an eastern tributary; and deficits in the regions of the Lower and Podkamennaya Tunguska Rivers, and Angara River. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast in the Middle Volga River Basin and moderate deficits in Trans Volga and in the southern Ural Mountains.

Moderate to exceptional surpluses are forecast for scattered pockets in Kazakhstan, particularly in the north, south of Lake Balkash, eastern Kyrgyzstan, and western Tajikistan. Moderate surpluses are expected in southern Turkmenistan and southeastern Uzbekistan. Severe to extreme deficits are forecast in the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan and across Kyrgyzstan’s narrow girth; moderate to extreme deficits in central Tajikistan and southern Kazakhstan; and moderate deficits in central Uzbekistan and pockets of northwestern Kazakhstan.

From June through August, severe to extreme deficits will emerge in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and western Kazakhstan, with pockets of exceptional anomalies. Deficits in the Fergana Valley will moderate; severe deficits will persist in a narrow band in central Kyrgyzstan; and severe deficits will emerge in southern Qaraghandy Region, Kazakhstan. Surpluses will persist in eastern Kyrgyzstan and across the border into Almaty Region, Kazakhstan. In Russia, deficits will persist in the Volga Basin, and conditions of both deficit and surplus are forecast for the Northern European Plain. Surpluses will persist in the Upper Ob River Basin and deficits will increase in much of the Yenisei River Basin.

The forecast for the final months – September through November – indicates that deficits will shrink in the Volga and Yenisei Basins and downgrade overall in Central Asia. Surpluses will persist in eastern Kyrgyzstan and in the Ob River Basin.

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

Turkmenistan is creating an artificial lake in the Karakum Desert for collecting drainage water from irrigation in hopes of expanding pasturelands and other cultivation areas and relieving problems like soil salinization, waterlogging, and drought.

Officials in St. Petersburg, Russia called for a state of emergency early last month when heavy snow caused dangerous conditions and a man was killed by a falling block of ice. The city received more than double the usual amount of snowfall for that time of year, causing tensions to flare between city residents and municipal officials, and between municipal officials and higher authorities. Residents picketed municipal offices and demanded military intervention to help deal with icy roadways and mountainous snow piles. Officials deployed 7,500 people and nearly as many vehicles in the snow removal effort.

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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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