Equitable and reasonable utilization: Reconstructing the Nile basin water allocation dialogue

Abby Onencan, Bartel van de Walle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Equitable and reasonable utilization is a core principle in the distribution of water resources. However, its practical application in the Nile Basin has been a significant challenge, leading to a water allocation deadlock. To address the deadlock, we used the van Eeten (1999) four-step process for defining new agendas. To reconstruct the debate, nine possible water allocation methods are developed using the Stone (2002) framework. After that, the arguments are compared and contrasted using interpretative policy analysis and the relevant factors to determine equitable and reasonable utilization in the Nile basin. Unfortunately, none of the nine possible water allocation methods satisfied all of the factors of assessing equitable and reasonable utilization. Therefore, we identified a crosswalk position that combines three water allocation methods. This combination consists of: (1) a group-based distribution; (2) a value-based distribution; and (3) a consensus-based distribution. Since the crosswalk position does not address current and potential uses, we recommend a new agenda to recast the issue. This agenda entails a change in the recipient of the water resources, the allocated item, and the process of decision-making. Finally, we discuss the potential of applying the proposed methodology in Nile sub-basins and other river basins within Sub-Saharan Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Article number707
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


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