by Stephanie M. McPherson | Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
An international workshop at MIT proposed a new path toward resolving the seemingly intractable conflict over allocation of the Nile waters. In two days characterized by frankness, representatives from Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan acknowledged that a forward-looking resolution requires releasing the baggage of history and distrust.
“We reframed the problem,” says Elfatih A. B. Eltahir, the Breene M. Kerr Professor of Hydrology and Climate and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) at MIT. Eltahir steered the direction of the meeting away from discussions of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), the controversial hydroelectric dam being built in Ethiopia. When completed, it will be the largest dam in Africa and will hold about 70 cubic kilometers of water. The project has stirred fears of restricted flow to downstream Nile countries.