South America: Water surpluses will persist in Paraguay & N Argentina

19 June 2019

The 12-month forecast through February 2020 indicates water deficits of varying intensity throughout many parts of the northern bulk of the continent as well as through most of Chile.

Deficits will be exceptional in Suriname, French Guiana, and Amapá, Brazil. Intense deficits are also forecast for southern and northwestern Venezuela; Guyana; Maranhão, Brazil, and many Brazilian rivers; pockets in northern Peru, from Lima across the center of the country, and the southern coast; and many pockets of Chile including Valparaiso, Santiago, and the Gulf of Corcovado.

Surpluses are forecast in northwestern Bolivia, central and eastern Paraguay, and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and will be extreme in central Paraguay. In Argentina, surpluses are expected in Catamarca and La Rioja Provinces in the northwest and several northeastern provinces as well. Moderate deficits are forecast along the Chico River in the south.

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

The forecast through August indicates that deficits in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, and northwestern Brazil will downgrade considerably, but severe to exceptional deficits are forecast for Suriname, French Guiana, and Amapá, Brazil. Intense deficits will persist in the southern Amazon Basin, Pará, Mato Grosso, Matto Grosso do Sul, São Paulo State, eastern Minas Gerais, and Espírito Santo. Intense deficits will emerge tracing the Andes Mountains through Peru and into Chile, and deficits of varying intensity are expected throughout much of central Peru. Some moderate deficits are forecast for the southern Pampas in Argentina. Surpluses will persist in central and eastern Paraguay, along the border of Peru and Bolivia, and many provinces in northern Argentina, and will be severe to extreme in central Paraguay. In coastal Uruguay, surpluses will intensify slightly, from mild to moderate.

From September through November, deficits will shrink and downgrade overall, leaving primarily moderate deficits in the northern Amazon Basin and northern nations of the continent, with pockets of more intense deficit, while much of Brazil’s southern half will experience near-normal conditions. Some moderate deficits are forecast across a few of Brazil’s southern states including São Paulo. Areas with a forecast of extreme to exceptional deficit include: Amapá and northern Pará (Brazil), French Guiana, northwestern Venezuela, western Ecuador, and northern Chile. Surpluses will shrink in Paraguay but extreme to exceptional surpluses will persist in the center of the country. Surpluses in northern Argentina will also shrink, but intense surpluses will persist in the northwestern provinces of La Rioja, Catamarca, and Santiago del Estero, and moderate surpluses in Chaco, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, and Córdoba.

In the final quarter – December 2019 through February 2020 – normal conditions are forecast for much of Brazil and many other areas of the continent. Deficits will remain intense in northern Chile, moderate to severe deficits are forecast scattered throughout Brazil’s northern neighbors, and mild deficits are expected in northern Brazil. Surpluses are forecast for northwestern and central Argentina, central Bolivia, southern Paraguay, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), and Uruguay.

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

Heavy rains beginning in March have incrementally swollen the River Paraguay with no end in sight, potentially raising the number of displaced families in Asunción alone to 20,000; along the 1000-kilometer (621-mile) length of the river, 60,000 families already have been displaced. The River Paraguay historically experiences major flooding events every 9-to-15 years, yet there have been three in just the last five years. The transformation has been linked to both climate change and deforestation in northern Paraguay.

A mudslide caused by a heavy downpour in central Colombia killed one person and ravaged over a dozen homes late last month.

An intense dry season in Trinidad and Tobago brought over 60 bushfires between January and May. The fires reduced tree cover of wooded hillsides, increasing the chances of floods and landslides.

Bolivia’s government is working to relocate potato cultivation to new areas in the country in response to drought affecting potato harvests for the last two years. The country’s potato production this year is down 15 percent over 2016 due to drought wreaking havoc on the traditional production areas in the highlands and inter-Andean valleys.

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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