Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Workshop Report

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Workshop Report

On November 13-14, 2014 the International, Non-partisan Eastern Nile Working Group met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), to hold a workshop to discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and its implications for regional cooperation and economic development in the Nile basin. The workshop included the Working Group, non-governmental participants from all Eastern Nile Countries, and local academics with an interest in the Nile Basin. It was convened by the MIT Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) as part of its mission to address broad, high-level questions in water and food-supply scarcity and to coordinate the efforts of MIT's faculty, labs, and centers to work in partnership with other institutions, foundations, industry, and governments to develop regionally appropriate solutions for water security for sustainable development. Participants at the meeting included individuals with many decades of experience working on water resource issues in the Nile basin, as well as MIT faculty with broad knowledge of global water resources policy and management.

The discussions over the two days were wide ranging, covering technical aspects of the design of the GERD; the potential advantages of water storage in Ethiopia for regional economic development; filling and operating strategies for the reservoir; potential downstream consequences of the GERD for Sudan and Egypt; and opportunities and risks for future basin-wide cooperation and economic development.

On the basis of these discussions, the group prepared an Amicus Brief to the three riparian governments, which was shared with them in early February 2015. The brief, titled "The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam: An Opportunity for Collaboration and Shared Benefits in the Eastern Nile Basin," highlights opportunities and also several issues of technical concern which are of relevance to policy makers in the region.


GERD Executive Summary
GERD Full Report
Workshop Agenda
MIT News Office Release
Comments from Ethiopian and Egyptian expert panels


The following publications are a subset of those co-authored by members of the Working Group and considered during the November 2014 Workshop.

  • Bates, A., K. Tuncok, T. Barbour, and J. Klimpt (2013), First Joint Multipurpose Program Identification Strategic Perspectives And Options Assessment Of Blue Nile Multipurpose Development, Working Paper 2 Strategic Options Assessment of Blue Nile Multipurpose Project Development.
  • Blackmore, D., and D. Whittington (2008), Opportunities for Cooperative Water Resources Development on the Eastern Nile: Risk and Rewards, FINAL REPORT, an Independent Report of the Scoping Study Team to the Eastern Nile Council of Ministers.
  • Boehlert, B., K. Strzepek, S. Robinson, and A. Gueneau (2014), Managing Common Water Resources under Climate Variability: The Economics of a New Nile River Agreement between Ethiopia and Egypt, In Review, Review of Development Economics.
  • International Panel of Experts on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Final Report, 31 May 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 54 pages.
  • Jeuland, M., and D. Whittington (2014), Water resources planning under climate change: Assessing the robustness of real options for the Blue Nile, Water Resources Research, 50(3), 2086–2107.
  • King, A., and P. Block (2014), An assessment of reservoir filling policies for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Journal of Water and Climate Change, 5(2), 233–243.
  • Robinson, S., K. Strzepek, M. El-Said, and H. Lofgren (2008), High Dam at Aswan, in Indirect Economic Impacts of Dams: Case Studies from India, Egypt and Brazil. R. Bhatia, R. Cestti, M. Scatasta, and R.Malik editors, Academic Foundation and The World Bank, New Delhi, 227-274.
  • Robinson, S., D. Willenbockel, and K. Strzepek (2012), A Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis of Adaptation to Climate Change in Ethiopia. Review of Development Economics, 16(3), 489–502.
  • Whittington, D, J. Waterbury, and M. Jeuland (2014), The Grand Renaissance Dam and prospects for cooperation on the Eastern Nile, Water Policy, 16, 595–608.
  • Zelalem, T., A. Mersha, and K. Wheeler (2014) Reservoir Filling Options Assessment for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam using a probabilistic approach. Proceedings of Fourth Nile Basin Development Forum – Nairobi, Kenya, October 6.
  • Zhang, Y., P. Block, M. Hammond, and A. King (2015) Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam: Implications for Downstream Riparian Countries, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, online