Water Productivity
Water Use Survey
Nile DST
Nile Basin Database
GIS Information Products
Scenarios of Demand
Legal and Institution
Monitoring Network
Project Office:
P.O Box 521 Kampala
Email: info@faonile.org


• Comprehensive inventories of existing national data sources in all co-basin states prepared by national counterpart staff.
• Development of a metadata catalogue listing web based data sources of use for water resources planning and management in the Nile basin. This concerns both public domain and proprietary data. Main categories are topography, climate, and socio-economic.
• Update national hydrologic and meteorological time series databases and complete quality control exercise.
• Limited set of basin wide spatial layers compiled from existing national and international data sources.


Technical water resources data and socio-economic and environmental information are needed to support informed decision and policy making regarding the scarce Nile water resources. A large number of datasets, databases, and data layers of different nature and quality are hosted by a plethora of national and international institutions, government agencies, and projects. The project has developed a standard database structure for time series data to ensure data consistency and to facilitate data exchange. A common data structure also serves to support the development of basin wide assessment tools. A large set of hydrologic and meteorological data has been quality controlled and transferred into electronic format in the last years. Data remain the property of the respective national institutions.

Developing consistent data sets for the Nile area is a challenging undertaking. This is partly because the basin is so large, with a surface area of over 3 million square kilometers. Equally complicating is the multi-country nature in which ten sovereign states share the Nile territory, each having their own data policies, priorities, formats, and institutions for data collection. Compiling basin wide data sets involves reclassifying legends, reinterpreting information, and making assumptions regarding the inevitable data gaps.

Developing spatial layers is not the prime responsibility of the respective Ministries responsible for water affairs in the Nile basin. Their main trust is regulation and policy development. The project, therefore, will no longer focus on digitizing maps and preparing spatial layers from scratch. Instead, the project will make an ongoing effort to identify and collect existing information from national and international institutions, and assess their application for informed decision making. It will evaluate if basin wide layer can be compiled from existing national and international data sets.

Inventory of National and International GIS Data Sources

Databases and spatial layers in most Nile countries are typically scattered across numerous projects, institutes, and departments. In the majority of riparians no formal or informal structure exists to compile and update an inventory of existing data sources. The production of new spatial layers is rarely coordinated. It is quite obvious that this situation increases the cost of information and decreases the potential for informed decision making.

While it is clearly not the mandate of the water departments to serve as national data warehouse, they have a keen interest in knowing what spatial and point information is around. The project, therefore, encourages the national focal point institutions to prepare and update comprehensive inventories of national data sources. The inventories are broad in scope to reflect the cross-sectoral nature of the water resources issues. They include parameters like data source, owner, location, accuracy, resolution, format, and projection.

Basin wide analysis involving GIS are typically hampered by lack of consistent and complete data layers. Fortunately, with the growth of geo-informatics over the internet, global and continental scale data sets are becoming increasingly available. In particular remote sensing is providing satellite images for traditionally data poor regions. The project is preparing a meta-database of international GIS data and assesses how they can complement the national databases. By verifying legend-classes on the ground and incorporating local expert knowledge, it makes an effort to increase the range of application of public domain international data sources.

Data Sharing

As of yet no mechanism exists for data sharing among the Nile riparians. The issue has been brought to the attention of the concerned officials and the Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat. Pending a resolution on this issue by the Nile Basin states, all data at the project office remain the property of the respective Nile countries and will not be distributed to any third party.

Africover landcover for the Entebbe- Kampala Region in Uganda
SRTM elevation for the Entebbe - Kampala Region in Uganda
Landsat image for the Entebbe- Kampala Region in Uganda
Landscan population density for the Entebbe- Kampala Region in Uganda
Nile Basin Meteosat image
Time-series database development