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Water-Energy-Food Nexus Accounting for the Eastern Nile Basin
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  • Lars Ribbe,
  • Muhammad Khalifa,
  • Mohammed Basheer,
  • Saher Ayyad,
  • Alexandra Nauditt,
  • Zryab Babker
Lars Ribbe
Technische Hochschule Köln (TH Köln)
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Muhammad Khalifa
Cologne University of Applied Science
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Mohammed Basheer
The University of Manchester
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Saher Ayyad
Technische Hochschule Köln (TH Köln)

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Alexandra Nauditt
Cologne University of Applied Sciences
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Zryab Babker
Technische Hochschule Köln (TH Köln)
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Water-Energy-Food Nexus assessments at river basin scale make sense in particular if hydropower is an important source of energy in a given region. The Blue Nile Basin is a major source for Water in the Nile river basin. It provides around 65 % of the flow of the Nile entering Egypt, and occupies a mere 10% of the total basin area. The Blue Nile water is primarily used for irrigation, hydropower, and domestic supply in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt. Climate variability and long-term climate and socio-economic changes pose a growing challenge to the provision of water, energy, and food security within the Blue Nile Basin as well as downstream. Thus, the scientifically sound quantification of available natural resources sustaining water, energy, and food security, and the development of different future scenarios can be helpful for decision-makers in the region. We suggest a new method of WEF Nexus accounting based on quantification of Nexus indicators derived mainly from public domain data. As observed data on water and land resources in the Blue Nile Basin are scarce, this study uses diverse remote sensing-based data sources to derive essential environmental information validated by using ground data, where possible. This includes land cover data, different precipitation products, actual evapotranspiration, net primary productivity (NPP), among others. Furthermore, several data analysis and modeling tools, such as WA+, various hydrological models, RiverWare, CropWat, etc., are employed to quantify the natural resources availability, variability, and productivity as a basis for a comprehensive WEF accounting based on selected indicators which were developed by a team of experts and scientists. The currently constructed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as well as other planned hydropower and irrigation schemes are also considered for the future scenarios. The result is a comprehensive WEF Nexus accounting estimating water availability and uses with a focus on irrigation as the dominant water user, productivities (based on NPP and derived yield estimates), water use efficiency, energy production from hydropower and estimation of security levels compared to the required current and future demands. Finally, the derived nexus indicators are put into context of selected SDG target indicators.