DC Group
Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 1 pm
SWG Headquarters

Presenter: Annalise Blum

“A Grand Prediction: Evaluating 2018 summertime Blue Nile rainfall and streamflow forecasts in preparation for Ethiopia's new dam”

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will be the largest hydropower dam in Africa, is highly controversial. Located on the Blue Nile River, the filling of the GERD reservoir could severely reduce Nile flows and acutely impact downstream countries, particularly if filling occurs in years of low rainfall. To provide decision-makers with a shared understanding of likely upcoming season flow conditions during the filling of the GERD reservoir, we developed a probabilistic forecast for 2018 Blue Nile basin rainfall and streamflow, using existing academic and regional operational forecast approaches, as well as four new statistical models, and communicated the forecast using a blog ( We present a post-season comparison with observations and discuss the response to the blog, including local media coverage, and feedback from regional decision-makers on the blog as a forecast communication tool. As completion of the GERD is behind schedule, Ethiopia did not begin filling the GERD reservoir in 2018. Filling is now expected to begin in 2019 or soon after. As the GERD is filled, forecasts such as this one can provide regional players with a common and realistic set of expectations for water availability in each year of the filling period. Consensus seasonal hydrological forecasts can inform those expectations annually, perhaps easing one source of tension as riparian countries engage in the shared challenge of managing a transboundary waterway under rapid development.

Annalise Blum is a Christine Mirzayan Fellow in Policy and Global Affairs at the National Academy of Sciences and a postdoctoral fellow in Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University. Her research focuses on the impact of urbanization on flooding and communication of forecasts for water resource management. Annalise completed her PhD in environmental and water resources engineering from Tufts University in 2017, MS from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014, and BS from Stanford University in 2010. Previously, she has worked at the Center for International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and as a fellow with the U.S. Geological Survey. Annalise has conducted research on water system sustainability in Ecuador, water and sanitation needs of Burmese migrant schools in Thailand, and household decision-making in Kenya.

Chicago Group
Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 11 am
Columbia Yacht Club at Randolph and Lake Shore Drive

Presenter: Cynthia Clampitt

“Pigs, Pork, and Heartland Hogs”

Cynthia’s newest book underscores the impact of food and agriculture on world events, and more specifically, the importance of pigs and hogs to the culture and economy of the Midwest. Cynthia’s wonderful storytelling is sure to captivate us, as we learn about the historical development of the world’s most common meat source - pork.

Please respond by Wednesday, MARCH 13th
Judy D Dollard ( or 913-558-7340
Judy Bock (  or 847-223-7627)


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