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 JWARP  Vol.12 No.3 , March 2020
Water Consumption by Hydropower, Does It Worth Allocation under Ethiopian Context
Abstract: The Ethiopian water policy strictly follows water allocation as a principle in setting out water consumption problems and demand projection. Hydroelectric power plants supply the larger share (88%) of the electricity in Ethiopia. 86% of Ethiopia’s plan to 2020 energy supply is expected to be from hydropower. This paper defines water consumption in hydropower production as the quantity of water that leaves the analyzed projects (reservoir regulated hydropower projects) through evaporation. Water consumed by hydropower development has never been studied at a country scale. Thus, in attempting to understand water consumption by the hydropower development, this study will be the first to acknowledge the water consumption by all storage regulated hydropower plants developed in Ethiopia. While studying and designing reservoir regulated hydropower production, the overall effect of water consumption by the projects is assumed to be minimal; thus ignoring water allocation to hydropower projects is a common procedure in Ethiopia. In this study, for multipurpose projects, to identify the water consumption by hydropower against the other purpose (irrigation) consumption, water consumption factors based on economic benefits were used. The study has shown that the 14 existing and under construction reservoir regulated hydropower projects will consume 1.881 billion m3 of water annually. This will make hydropower the second most water consuming water resource development next to Irrigation in the country. Together with the 22 upcoming projects the water consumption will be 3.756 billion m3/year. The results also show that hydropower consumption in the country will take an average of 2.41% of the total water stored in a reservoir. This value is in the range of nearly zero for power projects that use natural lakes as their reservoir (Tana Beles, Tis Abay I & II) and GERD to 10.64%. The total reservoir volume that will be created in the country after completion of the 22 planned projects is larger than 233 BCM, which is greater than the surface water volume the country possesses. This indicates that the future water consumption by hydropower plants shall be revised in accordance with changes made in the final design of each planned projects. Nonetheless, this research provides scientific support for the argument that the production of hydroelectricity by reservoir regulated hydropower schemes, in countries like Ethiopia, is a water consumer. Thus, water allocation shall not ignore its demand.
Cite this paper: Nurhusein, M. (2020) Water Consumption by Hydropower, Does It Worth Allocation under Ethiopian Context. Journal of Water Resource and Protection, 12, 183-202. doi: 10.4236/jwarp.2020.123012.
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