The Implication Of Upstream Water Development On Downstream River Basin: The Case Of The Blue Nile River Basin

Reem F. Digna F. Digna, Wil van der Krogt, Yasir A.Mohamed, Pieter van der Zaag, Stefan Uhlenbrook


The Blue Nile basin is promised by vast reservoir projects to contribute to the needs for energy and food in the region. These projects would significantly affect the entire basin leading to positive and/or negative externalities. The aim of this  paper is to assess the implication of the major planned reservoir in the basin; Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), on the perforemance of downstream dams, considering in particular hydropower and irrigation in Sudan. Sensitivty of the system to GERD mangement options have also been studied. RIBASIM river basin simulation software has been used to model the reservoirs system.  The findings showed that the hydropower generation would increase by 11%, compared to the base case when the system is cooperatively managed and without considering  the future expansion of irrigation, while irrigation development would reduce the generation by 7.25%. Supply reliability of existing irrigation projects would be more than 95% by GERD development. The irrigation expansion would reduce the supply reliability, however; would remain greater than 90%. Non-cooperative managemnt of the system would have insgnificant impact on  the hydro-generation [-0.4%] while the supply reliability of irrigation would be negatively affected particularly when agricultural expansions take place. GERD is expected to attain benefits at national and regional levels and enhance the regional integration, however, careful plan for agricultural expansions and system management is required to achieve benefit from water rsources development in the basin.

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ISSN: 1858-6333