Blue Nile Hydrosolidarity


Programme partners

The Blue Nile Hydrosolidarity programme is a research initiative by:

  • IHE Delft institute for water education, The Netherlands
  • Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia
  • University of Khartoum, Sudan
  • International Water Management Institute, IWMI
  • Institute of Environmental studies – Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands

In collaboration with:

  • Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources, Sudan
  • Ministry of Water Resources, Ethiopia
  • Eastern Nile technical Regional Office ENTRO - NBI

The programme started in September 2008 and is funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and by the initiating organisations.

Programme summary

The natural resource base of the Blue Nile Basin is under intense pressure from unsustainable farming practices and population growth. The livelihoods of many farming communities and pastoralists in the basin face increasing constraints related to soil erosion (mainly in Ethiopia), sedimentation of irrigation canals and reservoirs (mainly in Sudan), soil fertility decline, and water scarcity.

Our hypothesis is that the current negligence of upstream-downstream linkages leads to sub-optimal river management, as certain interventions in upstream tributaries with positive impacts downstream are not be feasible if considered in isolation.

With this programme we aim to increase the understanding of how people in the Blue Nile Basin are linked to each other. We investigate linkages in 7 subprojects:

  1. Agronomic and hydrological impacts of improved farming practices along the slopes of the Choke Mountains (Post-doc, M. Temesgen)
  2. Hydrological impacts of improved farming practices, reforestation and biodiversity conservation in the Blue Nile Basin (PhD, S. Tekleab)
  3. Hydraulic and hydrological aspects of changing sediment loads in the Blue Nile basin (PhD, Y. Salih)
  4. Valuation of land and water management practices in the Blue Nile basin – based on project 1-3 (PhD, A. Tesfaye)
  5. Understanding persistence of soil erosion and siltation - a socio-material approach to institutions (PhD, H. Smit)
  6. Analysis of the gendered nature of land and water management in the Blue Nile Basin (PhD, R. Muche)
  7. Analysis of driving forces behind land use change in the Blue Nile Basin (PhD, E. Teferi)

The increased understanding of upstream-downstream linkages will contribute to a solid knowledge base for sustainable land and water management in the basin.

Societal relevance

The knowledge that will be gained through this project will be crucial for achieving food security and poverty eradication in the region. The insights from in depth analysis of upstream-downstream linkages in a river basin will also be valuable to other basins facing water scarcity or land degradation.

Furthermore, enhanced collaboration between Dutch, Ethiopian and Sudanese knowledge institutes will increase the expertise of these countries to deal with complex water related challenges and strengthen the mutual understanding and solidarity between the countries riparian to the Blue Nile basin.