Though intense water deficits will persist in northern Africa over the next few months, exceptional deficits will shrink in the north and along the Red Sea, and will nearly disappear from the rest of the continent. Intense deficits will persist in Zambia’s Kafue River watershed. Areas of surplus include: Tanzania, Kenya, eastern Uganda, some countries along the northern Gulf of Guinea, central Chad, and northwestern Zambia. Surpluses will be intense in East Africa.
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Exceptional water deficits will shrink and downgrade across North Africa and along the Red Sea but deficits will remain widespread and intense. Intense deficits are also forecast for western Ethiopia, southern Gabon, northwestern Botswana, central Zambia, and western Madagascar. Exceptional surpluses will persist in East Africa; extreme surpluses are forecast for the conjoined borders of Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Republic of the Congo; and surpluses of lesser intensity are forecast for westernmost Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Exceptional water deficits in North Africa will diminish but persist, and severe deficits are forecast in Gabon and in Nigeria south of the Benue River. Deficits will also persist in western Zambia and are expected to be extreme on the Kafue River. Moderate to exceptional deficits will emerge in central Botswana. Exceptional surpluses will persist in Tanzania, Kenya, and northern Uganda, but diminish somewhat in northern Madagascar. Surpluses east of Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of the Congo are forecast to increase in both extent and intensity, becoming severe.
The forecast through July indicates that exceptional water deficits across northern Africa will diminish, but intense deficits will persist in Libya, Niger, Egypt, and Sudan. Deficits will downgrade in Gabon and southern DRC but remain severe. Deficits will persist in western Zambia and are expected to be extreme on the Kafue River. Relatively mild deficits are forecast for southern Africa. Intense surpluses will persist in Tanzania, Kenya, northern Uganda, and northern Madagascar.
Significant water deficits will continue to emerge across the north, though exceptional deficits will shrink. Deficits will diminish in central and southern Africa but remain intense in Gabon, southeastern DRC, Zambia, and west-central Madagascar. Southern Africa will downgrade to mild deficit. Surpluses will persist in southernmost Sudan, downgrade along the White Nile, increase in Kenya, and emerge in eastern Uganda, Ethiopia, and along the Jubba and Shabelle Rivers through southern Somalia. Exceptional surplus will persist in Tanzania.
The forecast through May shows widespread, intense water deficits emerging across northern Africa. Liberia and the Horn of Africa will transition from deficit to near-normal conditions. In Gabon, deficits will downgrade but remain intense, while deficits in central and southern Africa downgrade to moderate. Deficits are also forecast for: Guinea Bissau, western Burkina Faso, northern Ghana, northern Ethiopia, eastern Central African Republic, and western and southern Madagascar. Surplus is forecast for Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, eastern South Sudan, southeastern Sudan, and southern Ethiopia.
A notable improvement is forecast for southern Africa and the Horn of Africa where conditions will transition from intense to mild water deficit. Intense deficits are, however, forecast scattered across the southern Sahara and the Sahel, and in a stretch from southern Democratic Republic of the Congo through eastern Zambia into Malawi. Deficits of varying severity remain dominant in many other regions, but surpluses are forecast for northeastern South Sudan and Tanzania, and will be exceptional in Tanzania. After April, severe deficits will emerge across northern Africa and will persist in Zambia.
With media attention focused on the dire water situation in Cape Town, South Africa - the city is currently expected to run out of water on 16 April - some of our followers are asking why our most recent blog post and maps didn't echo the alarm. Our 12-month forecast ending September 2018 shows merely "moderate" water deficits ahead for the region, something you'd expect to see once every 5 to 10 years. Certainly no alarming red blobs indicating "exceptional" water deficits, those that might occur only once in 40 or more years. How can that be, given the desperate and very real situation in Cape Town right now?
Most areas of exceptional water deficit will downgrade through March. Moderate deficits are expected across northern Africa, with more severe conditions in Morocco, Western Sahara, and Guinea-Bissau. Intense deficits are also forecast for southeastern Nigeria, southwestern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Intense deficits will retreat in southern Africa. Surpluses will linger in southern Sudan, northeastern South Sudan, Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and northern Madagascar. After March deficits in northern Africa will intensify, but south of the Sahara milder conditions will prevail.
The near-term forecast indicates continued improvement in water conditions in southern Africa as exceptional deficits nearly disappear. Intense deficits are, however, expected in Lesotho. Deficits are forecast across northern Africa including pockets of exceptional deficit in western Mauritania through Guinea-Bissau, scattered around the Gulf of Guinea, small pockets across the southern Sahara, and in southeastern Ethiopia. Surpluses are expected in southern Sudan, South Sudan, western Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, western DRC, and western CAR into Cameroon. After February intense deficits will emerge in the north.