Central Asia & Russia: Water surpluses forecast in the Ob & Yenisei River Basins

28 February 2019

THE BIG PICTURE
The 12-month forecast through October 2019 indicates moderate deficits in Turkmenistan and moderate to severe deficits in Uzbekistan and western Kazakhstan.

Scattered surpluses are forecast for eastern Kazakhstan. Surpluses are also forecast for northern and eastern Kyrgyzstan and deficits in a band across the country’s narrow girth.

In Russia, severe to extreme deficits are forecast for the Upper Volga River Basin, moderate to severe conditions in Trans Volga, and both deficits and surpluses in the Lower Volga region. Surpluses are forecast on the Upper Ob River and in the Tom River Basin. Moderate to exceptional deficits are expected in the bulk of the Yenisei River Basin.

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

The forecast through April indicates that surpluses in the Ob River Basin of Russia will downgrade somewhat but remain intense. Surpluses are also forecast on the Vakh, Pur, and Taz Rivers. Exceptional surpluses are expected in the northern Yenisei River watershed. Surpluses will increase in the Northern European Plain from the Kola Peninsula in the west past the Vychegda Lowland.

Moderate to severe deficits are forecast in the Upper Volga River Basin, moderate deficits in Trans Volga and along the Lower Volga River, and conditions of both deficits and surplus (purple) north of Volgograd as transitions occur. Deficits in western Kazakhstan are expected to moderate. Moderate surpluses are forecast along the Zerafshon River in Uzbekistan and parts of the Syr Darya River in Kazakhstan. Surpluses are also forecast for eastern Kyrgyzstan, western Tajikistan, and around Tashkent, Uzbekistan. Moderate deficits are forecast for eastern Tajikistan.

From May through July, conditions in much of the Yenisei River Basin will transition from surplus to intense deficit, especially along the Lower and Podkamennaya Tunguska Rivers, eastern tributaries of the Yenisei. Conditions in the Lower and Middle Ob River Basin will transition to deficit, and surpluses and will shrink and downgrade in the Upper portions. Widespread deficits will spread in Russia west of the Urals, with moderate to severe conditions overall. Severe to extreme deficits will emerge in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and surpluses will increase in northern and eastern Kyrgyzstan.

The forecast for the final months – August through October – indicates an increase in intense deficits in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Deficits in Russia will downgrade.

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

IMPACTS
The Kazakh First Vice Minister of Agriculture said that the government plans to increase the nation’s irrigated land area from 7 percent to 16 percent in the next 10 years. Cultivated lands comprise over 80 percent of the country’s total land area but an arid climate necessitates improved irrigation systems, prompting the federal government to seek financial partners in the endeavor including the Islamic Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Asian Development Bank.

The Russian capital was stunned by a severe winter thunderstorm last month, complete with a lightning show to accompany blizzard conditions.

A recent storm battered a Russian ship’s cargo of 40N6 missiles bound for China, forcing the damaged, deadly merchandise to be liquidated and a new batch manufactured in its place.

Heavy snowfall in Moscow this month canceled over 70 flights to and from the city’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

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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