Quantifying and evaluating the impacts of cooperation in transboundary river basins on the Water-Energy-Food nexus: The Blue Nile Basin

Mohammed Basheer, Kevin G. Wheeler, Lars Ribbe, Mohammad Majdalawi, Gamal Abdo, Edith A. Zagona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Efficient utilization of the limited Water, Energy, and Food (WEF) resources in stressed transboundary river basins requires understanding their interlinkages in different transboundary cooperation conditions. The Blue Nile Basin, a transboundary river basin between Ethiopia and Sudan, is used to illustrate the impacts of cooperation between riparian countries on the Water-Energy-Food nexus (WEF nexus). These impacts are quantified and evaluated using a daily model that simulates hydrological processes, irrigation water requirements, and water allocation to hydro-energy generation and irrigation water supply. Satellite-based rainfall data are evaluated and applied as a boundary condition to model the hydrological processes. The model is used to determine changes in the long-term economic gain (i.e. after infrastructure development plans are implemented and in steady operation) for each of Sudan and Ethiopia independently, and for the Blue Nile Basin from WEF in 120 scenarios. Those scenarios result from combinations of three cooperation states: unilateral action, coordination, and collaboration; and infrastructure development settings including the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and planned irrigation schemes in Sudan. The results show that the economic gain of the Blue Nile Basin from WEF increases with raising the cooperation level between Ethiopia and Sudan to collaboration. However, the economic gain of each riparian country does not necessarily follow the same pattern as the economic gain of the basin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1309-1323
Number of pages15
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date7 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2018


  • Collaboration
  • Coordination
  • Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
  • RiverWare
  • Satellite-based rainfall products
  • Unilateral action


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