Research article

Beyond the implications of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam filling policies

  • Received: 13 May 2021 Accepted: 30 July 2021 Published: 11 August 2021
  • The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Ethiopia and High Aswan Dam (HAD) in Egypt both operate on the Nile River, independent of a governing international treaty or agreement. As a result, the construction of the GERD, the Earth's eighth largest dam, ignited a furious debate among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt on its filling policies and long-term operation. Ethiopia and Egypt's stance on the Nile River's water resources, combined with a nationalistic policy debate on the GERD's filling policies and long-term operation, has severely affected progress toward reaching agreeable terms before the first round of GERD filling was completed. These three countries continue to debate on the terms of agreement for the second round of GERD filling, scheduled to start by July 2021. We examined the GERD filling strategy for five- and six-year terms using time series data for the periods 1979–1987 and 1987–1992 to combine analyses for dry and wet seasons and investigate the potential impacts of filling the GERD above the downstream HAD using four HAD starting water levels. A model calibrated using MIKE Hydro results shows that during both five- and six-year terms of future GERD filling, Egypt would not need to invoke the HAD's minimum operating level. We pursued a narrative approach that appeals to both a technical and non-technical readership, and our results show the urgent need for cooperation at both policy and technical levels to mitigate and adapt to future climate change through the development of climate-proof agreements. Moreover, the results call for the riparian countries to move away from the current nationalistic policy debate approach and pursue a more cooperative, economically beneficial, and climate adaptive approach.

    Citation: Abay Yimere, Engdawork Assefa. Beyond the implications of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam filling policies[J]. AIMS Geosciences, 2021, 7(3): 313-330. doi: 10.3934/geosci.2021019

    Related Papers:

  • The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Ethiopia and High Aswan Dam (HAD) in Egypt both operate on the Nile River, independent of a governing international treaty or agreement. As a result, the construction of the GERD, the Earth's eighth largest dam, ignited a furious debate among Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt on its filling policies and long-term operation. Ethiopia and Egypt's stance on the Nile River's water resources, combined with a nationalistic policy debate on the GERD's filling policies and long-term operation, has severely affected progress toward reaching agreeable terms before the first round of GERD filling was completed. These three countries continue to debate on the terms of agreement for the second round of GERD filling, scheduled to start by July 2021. We examined the GERD filling strategy for five- and six-year terms using time series data for the periods 1979–1987 and 1987–1992 to combine analyses for dry and wet seasons and investigate the potential impacts of filling the GERD above the downstream HAD using four HAD starting water levels. A model calibrated using MIKE Hydro results shows that during both five- and six-year terms of future GERD filling, Egypt would not need to invoke the HAD's minimum operating level. We pursued a narrative approach that appeals to both a technical and non-technical readership, and our results show the urgent need for cooperation at both policy and technical levels to mitigate and adapt to future climate change through the development of climate-proof agreements. Moreover, the results call for the riparian countries to move away from the current nationalistic policy debate approach and pursue a more cooperative, economically beneficial, and climate adaptive approach.



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