Central Asia & Russia: Water surpluses persist in S Turkmenistan

19 September 2019

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast through May 2020 indicates intense water surpluses along Turkmenistan’s southern border, intense deficits in much of the remainder of the country as well as in Uzbekistan and across its border into western Kazakhstan.

Surpluses are expected in pockets of northern and eastern Kazakhstan and along portions of the Ishim and Esil Rivers. Surpluses are also forecast in eastern Kyrgyzstan, central Tajikistan, and eastern Uzbekistan.

In Russia, surpluses are expected in the Northern European Plain and will be exceptional in the Vychegda Lowland. In the Volga River Basin, deficits are forecast in the Lower Volga region approaching the mouth of the river near the Caspian Sea, surpluses are forecast north of Volgograd and around Samara and Kazan, and moderate deficits in the Middle Volga region south of Nizhny Novgorod.

Surpluses are forecast for the Western Siberian Plain including the Ob and Vakh River Basins. Deficits are expected along the central coasts of the Gulf of Ob.

In the Yenisei River Basin, surpluses are forecast in the Lower Yenisei region, along much of the river itself, and in several oblasts west of Lake Baikal. Deficits are forecast in the Yenisei’s eastern basin and will be intense in the region of the Nizhnyaya Tunguska and the Upper Reaches of the Podkamennaya Tunguska.

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

The forecast through November indicates that surpluses will intensify in the Northern European Plain in Russia with exceptional anomalies in the Vychegda Lowland. In the Volga River region, surpluses are forecast around the Kuybyshev Reservoir between Samara to Kazan, but deficits are forecast south of Nizhny Novgorod.

Widespread surpluses will persist in the Ob River Basin and will be intense west of the intersection of the Tobol, Irtysh, and Ob Rivers. Anomalies will also be intense in the Upper Ob region north of Novosibirsk. Intense deficits will persist along the central coasts of the Gulf of Ob.

Surpluses are forecast on the Yenisei River but deficits reaching exceptional intensity are expected in the regions of its eastern tributary, the Nizhnyaya Tunguska.

In Kazakhstan, surpluses will persist in pockets of the north, east, and in the south along the Ile and Syr Darya Rivers. Deficits in the west will diminish. Surpluses are forecast for Kyrgyzstan, western Tajikistan, eastern Uzbekistan and a pocket in the west, and in a wide band along Turkmenistan’s southern border where surpluses will be extreme to exceptional.

From December 2019 through February 2020, intense, widespread surpluses will persist in the Northern European Plain in Russia but will shrink somewhat in the Western Siberian Plain. Surpluses will persist on the Ob River and in several oblasts west of Lake Baikal. Deficits will persist along the central coasts of the Gulf of Ob, in the Nizhnyaya Tunguska River region, and north of Lake Baikal. Deficits will emerge in northern Kazakhstan, particularly in Aktobe Region and across its border into the Ural River region of Russia. Surpluses are forecast Kyrgyzstan, western Tajikistan, eastern Uzbekistan, and southern Turkmenistan. Deficits will disappear south of Nizhny Novgorod in Russia’s Volga River Basin and in the Caucasus Region between the Black and Caspian Seas. Surpluses will emerge on the Lower Volga.

The forecast for the final months – March through May 2020 – indicates moderate to severe surpluses across the Northern European Plain and in the Western Siberian Plain, deficits along the central coasts of the Gulf of Ob and in western regions of the Central Siberian Plateau, and relatively normal conditions in Central Asia.

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

IMPACTS
By the end of August, over a dozen cities and districts on Russia’s Pacific coast had declared a state of emergency due to heavy rainfall causing severe flooding and mudslides, with the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok reporting a month’s worth of rain in just two days. The mayor estimated damages to the city’s infrastructure at 100 million rubles (USD $1.5 million). Roughly 170 people were evacuated from their homes.

Heavy rain flooded the Russian city of Sochi in mid-August, partially submerging vehicles and bringing traffic to a slow crawl.

Various severe weather events, including frosts, drought, and flood, have caused an estimated 9.5 billion rubles (USD $142.3 million) in agricultural damages in the Russian Federation, as reported by the country’s deputy agricultural minister.

The water level of Siberia’s Lena River, 77 percent of which crosses through Russia’s rapidly melting permafrost, has fallen two and a half meters (8.5 feet) due to drought, stranding cargo ships on sandbeds and reducing fish catch. Many Siberian towns accessible only via river were rendered unreachable for weeks as the river suddenly dried, bringing shipping traffic to a halt. The Lena is Russia’s second-longest Arctic river.

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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