Natural Resources, School of


Document Type


Date of this Version



J. Water Resour. Plann. Manage., 2016, 142(11): 02516001

DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000708


U.S. Government Works


This paper discusses the challenges and benefits of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which is under construction and expected to be operational on the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia in a few years. Like many large-scale projects on transboundary rivers, the GERD has been criticized for potentially jeopardizing downstream water security and livelihoods through upstream unilateral decision making. In spite of the contentious nature of the project, the authors argue that this project can provide substantial benefits for regional development. The GERD, like any major river infrastructure project, will undeniably bring about social, environmental, and economic change, and in this unique case has, on balance, the potential to achieve success on all fronts. It must be stressed, however, that strong partnerships between riparian countries are essential. National success is contingent on regional cooperation.