Developing practical strategies for cooperation in the Nile basin

Kevin Wheeler, DPhil candidate at the Environmental Change Institute, recently presented his work on alternative management strategies of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the effects on the distribution of benefits among the Nile Basin countries of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

Staff from the Sudan Ministry of Water Resources, Dam Implementation Unit and University of Khartoum learn how to use and develop the Eastern Nile RiverWare model

Staff from the Sudan Ministry of Water Resources, Dam Implementation Unit and University of Khartoum learn how to use and develop the Eastern Nile RiverWare model

He presented both at a workshop on Sustainable Hydropower in the 2014 World Water Week in Stockholm (31 August to 5 September) and was a panellist at the HydroVision International conference in Nashville Tennessee (22-25 July) in a session on ‘Sharing water across borders’.

This work followed from Kevin’s 2013 dissertation research for the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management, in which he conducted interviews in Cairo Egypt, Khartoum Sudan, and Addis Ababa Ethiopia. He taught RiverWare modelling courses in each country to water ministry officials, university academics, sub-basin organisations and private consultants. Together with these stakeholders, he developed various management scenarios for the operation of the contentious Ethiopian Dam, which is currently being constructed on the Ethiopian-Sudanese border.

The MSc research, which was awarded the Water Conservators’ Prize for Best Dissertation, demonstrated how benefits and costs are distributed under different dam management practices and highlighted the tradeoffs associated with these practices. More importantly, this work empowered stakeholders within the basin by teaching them a practical tool that can be used to facilitate the ongoing negotiations between the countries.

Kevin is continuing this work in his DPhil to examine both theoretical and practical mechanisms of collaboration through dam operations under various hydrologic conditions and the implications on trans-boundary water security across different populations.

More information on issues surrounding the Nile Development can be found at:
http://www.scidev.net/global/energy/multimedia/ethiopia-millennium-dam-science-controversy.html