Considerations in managing the fill rate of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Reservoir using a system dynamics approach Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this study is to evaluate simulated fill rate scenarios for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam while taking into account plausible climate change outcomes for the Nile River Basin. The region lacks a comprehensive equitable water resource management strategy, which creates regional security concerns and future possible conflicts. We employ climate estimates from 33 general circulation models within a system dynamics model as a step in moving toward a feasible regional water resource management strategy. We find that annual reservoir fill rates of 815% are capable of building hydroelectric capacity in Ethiopia while concurrently ensuring a minimum level of stream flow disruption into Egypt before 2039. Insofar as climate change estimates suggest a modest average increase in stream flow into the Aswan, climate changes through 2039 are unlikely to affect the fill rate policies. However, larger fill rates will have a more detrimental effect on stream flow into the Aswan, particularly beyond a policy of 15%. While this study demonstrates that a technical solution for reservoir fill rates is feasible, the corresponding policy challenge is political. Implementation of water resource management strategies in the Nile River Basin specifically and Africa generally will necessitate a national and regional willingness to cooperate.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Keith, B., Ford, D. N., & Horton, R.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Keith, Bruce||Ford, David N||Horton, Radley

publication date

  • January 2017