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.
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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.
Exceptional water deficits are forecast to diminish considerably November through January, but will continue to emerge in coastal Mauritania, western Niger, southeastern Nigeria, and southern Cameroon. Deficits in South Africa are expected to moderate but severe deficits are forecast along the Orange River and from Lesotho through Swaziland. Notable surpluses are expected in southern Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia. After January, moderate to severe deficits are forecast across North Africa, mild deficits in the south, and surpluses in Tanzania.
Exceptional water deficits are expected to diminish considerably, leaving severe conditions across the north but relatively moderate conditions in the south. Some intense deficits are forecast for western Mauritania, southwestern Burkina Faso, the Chinko Nature Reserve in Central African Republic, southwestern Namibia, and Cape Town, South Africa. Surpluses are forecast for southeastern Sudan, northeastern South Sudan, the Niger Delta, Gabon, north-central Uganda, eastern Tanzania, Okavango Delta in Botswana, and the central border between Botswana and South Africa.
Overall the extent of exceptional water deficits is expected to diminish considerably September through November leaving moderate deficits in the south and extreme to exceptional deficits across the southern Sahara. Exceptional surpluses are expected to persist in southeastern Tanzania, and while those areas of surplus will moderate slightly after November, surpluses will emerge throughout the country and may be particularly intense in Dodoma Region. Except for surpluses in East Africa, primarily moderate deficits are forecast for most of the continent from November through spring next year.
The extent of exceptional water deficits is expected to diminish considerably through October – particularly in the southern half of the continent – but deficits reaching exceptional intensity are forecast from northern Mauritania through northern Sudan, and in Somaliland, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia. A large block of exceptional surplus is forecast in eastern Tanzania, and some exceptional surplus is also expected in northern Madagascar. Overall, deficits will continue to downgrade through January 2018, while surpluses will increase in Tanzania and will emerge in Malawi, northern Mozambique, eastern Zambia, Uganda, western Kenya, and along the While Nile in South Sudan.
The extent of exceptional water deficits is expected to diminish considerably after September, though deficits of varying severity will remain in the forecast and will likely be more severe in the northern half of the continent. In the near-term, July through September, severe to exceptional deficits are forecast in the desert regions of the northern nations, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, northern Niger, and northern Sudan; and also in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. Exceptional deficits will retreat in southern Namibia during this period but will emerge in the northeastern portion of the country, eastward into neighboring Botswana and across the border into South Africa. Exceptional surpluses are forecast to continue in eastern Tanzania though September but will retreat to the coast by December.