Strzepek: Inside the MIT-led Effort to Resolve an International Water Debate

June 19, 2015

Nile Debate

For millennia, Egypt has relied on the Nile River for its agriculture. So Egyptians were understandably upset in 2011 when their upstream neighbor, Ethiopia, announced plans to build a hydroelectric dam that threatened to reduce the flow out of the spigot: the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), sited along a major tributary that contributes most of the water flowing into the Nile. Two years ago, then prime minister Mohammed Morsi even threatened to go to war.

In an effort to break the stalemate, Kenneth Strzepek ’75, SM ’77, PhD ’80 led a nonpartisan panel of 17 experts convened last November through MIT’s new Abdul Latif Jameel World Water and Food Security Lab (J-WAFS) to investigate the issue and forge a common solution. MIT Spectrum spoke this spring with the alumnus—who is currently a research scientist with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and the MIT Center for Global Change Science—about the “great moral dilemma” at the heart of the conflict, and the value of objective advice. Read the full article at MIT Spectrum

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