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The Nile Water-Food-Energy Nexus under Uncertainty: Impacts of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Volume 146, Issue 11, p.04020085 (2020)



<p>Achieving a water, food, and energy (WFE) nexus balance through policy interventions is challenging in a transboundary river basin because of the dynamic nature and intersectoral complexity that may cross borders. The Nile basin is shared by a number of riparian countries and is currently experiencing rapid population and economic growth. This has sparked new developments to meet the growing water, food, and energy demands, alleviate poverty, and improve the livelihood in the basin. Such developments could result in basinwide cooperation or trigger conflicts among the riparian countries. A system dynamics model was developed for the entire Nile basin and integrated with the food and energy sectors in Egypt to investigate the future of the WFE nexus with and without the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) during filling and subsequent operation using basinwide stochastically generated flows. Different filling rates from 10% to 100% of the average monthly flow are considered during the filling process. Results suggest that the GERD filling and operation would affect the WFE nexus in Egypt, with the impact likely to be significant if the filling process occurred during a dry period. Food production from irrigated agriculture would be reduced by 9%&ndash;19% during filling and by about 4% during GERD operation compared with the case without it. The irrigation water supply and hydropower generation in Sudan will be reduced during the filling phase of the GERD, but this is expected to be improved during the dam operation phase as a result of the regulation afforded by the GERD. Ethiopian hydropower generation is expected to be boosted by the GERD during the filling and operation of the dam, adding an average of 15,000&thinsp;&thinsp;GWh/year15,000&thinsp;&thinsp;GWh/year once GERD comes online. Lastly, the results reveal the urgency of cooperation and coordination among the riparian countries to minimize the regional risks and maximize the regional rewards associated with the GERD.</p>