Mexico, Central America, & the Caribbean: Intense water deficits forecast for S. Veracruz

16 August 2019

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast ending April 2020 indicates intense deficits in Nayarit, Mexico on the Pacific Coast, and pockets of severe to extreme deficit tracing the Gulf Coast from central Tamaulipas through Veracruz State, and in Oaxaca and Chiapas in the south.

Moderate to severe deficits are expected in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula, and moderate deficits in Chihuahua and Durango in the northwest and a few pockets of Baja. Some small, isolated pockets of surplus are expected in northern Baja; at the source of the Bavispe River in northeastern Sonora; northern Coahuila; and northern San Luis Potosí.

In Central America, some moderate deficits are forecast in central Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Moderate surpluses are expected in southeastern Guatemala, southern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and western Panama. Cuba can expect intense deficits in the west and surpluses in the center of the nation. Severe deficits are forecast for central Haiti, and surpluses around Port-au-Prince.

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

The forecast through October indicates that Mexico will transition to normal water conditions in many parts of the north and the Yucatan Peninsula, with some moderate deficits in southern Chihuahua and primarily moderate surpluses in northeastern Sonora between the Yaqui and Bavispe Rivers, in northern Coahuila and northern San Luis Potosí. Moderate to exceptional deficits are forecast in southern Veracruz trailing into Chiapas, particularly in the regions of the Papaloapan and Coatzacoalcos Rivers in Veracruz.

In Central America, moderate deficits are expected in central Guatemala, southern Belize, and pockets of Honduras, and El Salvador. Moderate surpluses are forecast for southern Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and western Panama. Deficits are expected in Haiti, with surpluses around Port-au-Prince.

From November 2019 through January 2020, normal conditions are expected throughout most of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, with some pockets of moderate deficit in southern Chihuahua, southern Veracruz into Oaxaca, and lingering pockets in central Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Some small pockets of surplus will persist in Costa Rica and Panama. Normal conditions are forecast for much of the Caribbean.

The forecast for the final three months – February through April 2020 – indicates that exceptional deficits will emerge in southern Baja and in coastal Guadalajara, Guerrero, and Oaxaca.

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

IMPACTS
[updated 26 Aug 2019]
The United Nations announced this month that poor harvests and prolonged drought causing food shortages are driving a portion of rural Central American families to flee their homes to different states and different countries.

According to a new study, El Salvador is projected to run out of water within 80 years.

Some restaurants in Jamaica are removing ingredients - mostly vegetables - from their dishes and menus as they become unavailable due to water shortages and drought.

A new report published by the World Resources Institute shows that fifteen states in northern and central Mexico consume 80 to 100 percent of their available water on an annual basis, categorizing them as having “extremely high” water stress.

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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