Three dams were built in the Tekezze-Atbara sub-basin (T-A): Girba (1966) and Atbara Dams Complex (2015) in Sudan, and Tekezze Five (2010) in Ethiopia, while several others are on the drawing board. However, these storage reservoirs are operated independently, not necessarily because of conflicting interests, but possibly due to lack of information of the added value of coordinated operation of the system.
Therefore, the main goal of this research is to evaluate costs and benefits of coordinated versus non-coordinated operation of the reservoirs system in the T-A sub-basin. A river basin simulation model will be the main tool of the analysis to respond to demands of irrigation, hydropower and environmental flow. The model will be built jointly by researchers from the two countries, as a pre-requisite for trust and confidence building before interpreting model results. Experts from UNESCO-IHE provide guidance and facilitation during project implementation.
A robust (trusted) river basin simulation model of the T-A sub-basin that is built by riparian researchers is by itself a key output to support improved water resources management in the basin. However, the model is also a corner stone for further research, e.g., to derive optimization algorithms, or testing different institutional structures for coordinated reservoir operation, among many others research ideas. This project will seek additional funding to continue research on possible mechanisms (policies/institutions) of coordinated operation of the T-A reservoirs system.