Abstract

Challenges to manage and secure a sustainable water supply are expected to become more acute in Egypt as the lowermost riparian country of the Nile basin with the construction of new transboundary water infrastructures in Ethiopia and Sudan. To understand the impact of such transboundary water projects on Egypt, it is first necessary to develop a modeling tool that can simulate potential flow and reservoir scenarios inside Egypt without requiring in situ hydrologic or transboundary dam data that are typically unavailable. This study presents the water management value of a modeling framework to predict the current and future reservoir operating rules in the lower Nile basin using satellite Earth observations and hydrologic models. The platform comprises the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model driven by high spatial and temporal resolution of satellite observations. Reservoir storage change is estimated using altimeter and visible imagery of lake area for Lake Nasser and then applied to infer reservoir operation for High Aswan Dam (HAD). The modeling framework based on satellite observations yielded a simulated streamflow at the outlet for Blue Nile basin (BNB) with a Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency of 0.68 with a correlation and RMSE of 0.94 and 1095 m3 s−1, respectively. Storage and outflow discharge of HAD were estimated for the period of 1998–2002 within 1.4% accuracy (0.076 km3 month−1) when compared with published reports. Because BNB controls the lion’s share of the variability to HAD inflow inside Egypt, the proposed modeling framework is appropriate for policy-makers to understand the implications of transboundary projects on the future water security of Egypt.

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