Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean: Water deficits forecast for Haiti

17 June 2019

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast ending February 2020 indicates near-normal water conditions across northern Mexico, with some deficits in Baja and southern Chihuahua and some surpluses in northern Coahuila.

Mild to moderate deficits follow the Pacific and Gulf Coasts through southern Mexico, though deficits may be more intense in northern Puebla State. Moderate deficits are also forecast for the Yucatan Peninsula.

In Central America, mild to moderate deficits are forecast for Guatemala, Belize, western Honduras, and El Salvador. Moderate surpluses are expected in southern Nicaragua and central Panama. Some moderate deficits are forecast for western Cuba and Haiti.

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

The forecast through August indicates that Mexico will transition to nearly normal water conditions in the north with some primarily mild deficits in Baja and persistent surpluses in northern Coahuila. Mild deficits are forecast for Pacific Coast states through Oaxaca, and in the Yucatan Peninsula. Deficits may be severe in a small pocket of northern Puebla State. Moderate deficits are forecast for central Guatemala into northwestern Honduras. Surpluses are expected in southern Nicaragua, northern Costa Rica, and eastern Panama, and may be extreme in Nicaragua. Exceptional deficits are forecast for Haiti.

From September through November, water conditions in Mexico will continue to normalize. Surpluses in Coahuila will nearly disappear; moderate surpluses will increase in northeastern Sonora between the Yaqui and Bavispe Rivers; and, severe surpluses will re-emerge in Baja’s northwest corner. Primarily mild to moderate deficits are forecast for Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, though some pockets may be severe. Moderate surpluses are forecast for western Panama. Deficits in Haiti, as forecast for the prior three months, will nearly disappear.

The forecast for the final three months – December 2019 through February 2020 – indicates nearly normal conditions throughout Mexico and the Caribbean, some moderate deficits in northern Central America, and some moderate surpluses in Panama.

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

IMPACTS
This year’s dry season in Belize is reportedly more severe than normal in the country’s northern and central districts, completely drying the southwestern Sapote Lagoon, which was historically used for recreation and subsistence fishing.

The Santiago Apóstol temple, built in the 1600’s, has been submerged in the Nezahualcóyotl reservoir in southern Mexico for over 50 years until now, as drought has plummeted reservoir levels enough to expose the temple’s facade. As of late May, roughly a fifth of Mexico’s total land area is affected by moderate to extreme drought, encouraging over 100 wildfires across Mexico’s central and southern states. Thousands of cattle in northern Veracruz and southern Tamaulipas perished due to starvation or entrapment in water-depleted riverbeds.

At the onset of the regional rainy season, flooding in the Mexican state of Jalisco killed at least two people after severe storms and a landslide caused the San Gabriel River to overflow its banks early this month. Local and state authorities contend that illegal logging by avocado growers along the riverbed exacerbated the flooding.

NOTE ON ADMINISTRATIVE BOUNDARIES
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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