‘India may face an intense and increased water deficit next year’

Water deficits will increase and intensify in India in 2019, says the latest edition of Global Water Monitor & Forecast Watch List (November 2018). It represents the regions which are likely to encounter significant water anomalies in the next few months. The results showcase that exceptional water deficits occur throughout Gujarat in the west and severe to exceptional deficits from Madhya Pradesh through Karnataka, as well as in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, and India’s far northeast.

The findings are based on ISciences Water Security Indicator Model (WSIM). The model analyses global water anomalies using observed temperature and precipitation.

Highlights of the report:

The forecast predicts severe to exceptional surplus water for regions including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Mizoram. Moderate to severe deficits were forecast for Bihar.

From February through April, deficits in India are expected to moderate overall and some regions in the country’s eastern third will normalize. However, intense deficits will persist throughout Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and along the Tungabhadra River through Karnataka.

The forecast for the final months — May through July (2019) — indicates primarily moderate deficits in India and pockets throughout the region. Some surpluses are expected in Jammu and Kashmir, northern Pakistan, along the Gandaki River in central Nepal, and pockets of Tamil Nadu.

The 12-month forecast through July 2019 indicates exceptional (greater than 40 years) water deficits in Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

Though this September’s extreme heat was unrelated to El Niño — which usually introduces warm dry conditions — El Niño is being blamed for low rainfall during the June-to-September monsoon season. The monsoon rain deficits have caused drought-like conditions in almost a third of Indian districts and added stress for the farmers.

The report also notes that India’s coffee production is expected to fall to its lowest in five years due to flood damage to plantations in southern states such as Kerala and Karnataka. India exports about three-quarters of the coffee it produces, and flood damage has been reported in all key producing areas of the country. The future forecast will help visualize the impact and intensity at a large scale.

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