GWF Paper Discusses Climate Change Impacts on Blue Nile Hydropower Dams

Global Water Forum27 November 2012: A paper contributed to the Global Water Forum (GWF) website by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) evaluates the impact of climate change on irrigation and hydropower schemes in the Ethiopian portion of the Blue Nile River.

In the paper, titled “The implications of climate change for water resource development in the Blue Nile River,” Matthew McCartney of IWMI presents results from the modeling of four development scenarios based on existing and planned hydropower dam projects. The results indicate that anticipated changes in climate will affect both hydropower generation and water supply to irrigation schemes, especially from the middle to latter part of the 21st century, with resulting impacts on agriculture and electricity production.

McCartney recommends more systematic planning of water storage, and greater cooperation between the riparian states. He proposes consideration of water storage systems that may use surface water in conjunction with groundwater, perhaps transnationally. He observes that planning for climate change requires going beyond water to consider other sectors in the water-energy-food nexus.

The GWF was established in 2010 by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance, to present knowledge and insight from water researchers and practitioners. [Publication: The implications of climate change for water resource development in the Blue Nile River] [GWF Website]