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.

[1]   Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) (2020).

[2]   GTP II (2015) Growth and Transformation Plan II, FDRE Planning Commission.

[3]   Gleick, P.H. (1992) Environmental Consequences of Hydroelectric Development: The Role of Facility Size and Type. Energy, 17, 735-747.

[4]   Gleick, P.H. (1993) Water in Crisis, A Guide to the World’s Freshwater Resources. Oxford University Press, New York.

[5]   Shiklomanov, I.A. (2000) Appraisal and Assessment of World Water Resources. Water International, 25, 11-32.

[6]   Torcellini, P.A., Long, N. and Judkoff, R. (2003) Consumptive Water Use for US Power Production. National Renewable Energy Laboratory Golden, CO.

[7]   Pasqualetti, M. and Kelley, S. (2008) The Water Costs of Electricity in Arizona.

[8]   Gerbens-Leenes, P.W., Hoekstra, A.Y. and Van der Meer, T.H. (2009) The Water Footprint of Energy from Biomass: A Quantitative Assessment and Consequences of an Increasing Share of Bio-Energy in Energy Supply. Ecological Economics, 68, 1052-1060.

[9]   Herath, I., Deurer, M., Horne, D., Singh, R. and Clothier, B. (2011) The Water Footprint of Hydroelectricity: A Methodological Comparison from a Case Study in New Zealand. Journal of Cleaner Production, 19, 1582-1589.

[10]   Pfister, S., Saner, D. and Koehler, A. (2011) The Environmental Relevance of Water Consumption in Global Power Production. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 16, 580-591.

[11]   Bakken, T.H., Killingtveit, A., Engeland, K., Alfredsen, K. and Harby, A. (2013) Water Consumption from Hydropower Plants-Review of Published Estimates and an Assessment of the Concept. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17, 3983-4000.

[12]   CRGE (2011) FDRE, Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy, Green Economy Strategy.

[13]   Seyoum Hailu, S. (1998) Hydropower of Ethiopia: Status, Potential and Prospects. EACE (Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers) Bulletin, 1, No. 1.

[14]   JICA (2015) The Project for Formulating Master Plan Development of Geothermal Energy in Ethiopia.

[15]   MoWIE (2017)

[16]   Aguilar, S., Louw, K. and Neville, K. (2011) IHA World Congress Bulletin, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and International Hydropower Association (IHA), Issue 1, Volume 139.

[17]   Hoekstra, A.Y., Chapagain, A.K., Aldaya, M.M. and Mekonnen, M.M. (2011) The Water Footprint Assessment Manual: Setting the Global Standard. Earthscan, London, UK.

[18]   Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2012) The Blue Water Footprint of Electricity from Hydropower. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 16, 179-187.

[19]   Yesuf, M.B. (2012) Impacts of Cascade Hydropower Plants on the Flow of the River System and Water Level in Lake Turkana in Omo-Ghibe Catchment, Ethiopia. Master’s Thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

[20]   Tefferi, M.E.A. (2012) The Effect of Ethiopian Hydropower Reservoirs on Blue Nile River Flow Regime. Master’s Thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

[21]   Demeke, T.A., Marence, M. and Mynett, A.E. (2013) Evaporation from Reservoirs and the Hydropower Water Footprint. In: Proceedings from Africa 2013, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 16-18 April 2013.

[22]   Lenters, J.D., Kratz, T.K. and Bowser, C.J. (2005) Effects of Climate Variability on Lake Evaporation: Results from a Long-Term Energy Budget Study of Sparkling Lake, Northern Wisconsin, USA. Journal of Hydrology, 308, 168-195.

[23]   Singh, V.P. and Xu, C.-Y. (1997) Evaluation and Generalization of 13 Mass-Transfer Equations for Determining Free Water Evaporation. Hydrological Processes, 11, 311-323.<311::AID-HYP446>3.0.CO;2-Y

[24]   Winter, T.C., Rosenberry, D.O. and Sturrock, A.M. (1995) Evaluation of 11 Equations for Determining Evaporation for a Small Lake in the North Central United States. Water Resources Research, 31, 983-993.

[25]   FAO (2000) Crop Evapotranspiration: Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. Irrigation and Drainage Paper 56. FAO, Rome.

[26]   Amit, K. and Karen, F. (2015) FAO, AQUASTAT Program, Evaporation from Artificial Lakes and Reservoirs.

[27]   Lee, U., Han, J., Elgowainy, A. and Wang, M. (2017) Regional Water Consumption for Hydro and Thermal Electricity Generation in the United States. Applied Energy, In Press.

[28]   Hagos, F., Makombe, G., Namara, R.E. and Awulachew, S.B. (2011) Importance of Irrigated Agriculture to the Ethiopian Economy: Capturing the Direct Net Benefits of Irrigation.

[29]   UNDP (2016) Understanding African Experiences in Formulating and Implementing Plans for Emergence Growing Manufacturing Industry in Ethiopia.

[30]   International Energy Agency (2014).

[31]   Proclamation No. 197/2000, FDRE, Ethiopian Water Resources Management Proclamation.

[32]   FAO (2016) AQUASTAT Country Profile-Ethiopia. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome, Italy.