Training in field data acquisition, data processing and
quality control in a number of Nile countries;
• Limited extension of hydrometric monitoring network
of a transboundary nature;
• Establishment and operation of an Internet forum
supporting hydro-meteorological network operation.
Nile is among the most studied rivers in the world with
records dating back over a thousand years. Yet hydro-meteorological
monitoring is in decline in recent years. Budgetary constraints
and political circumstances have conspired to gradually
reduce the extent of the network. The resulting data gaps
may hamper the future capacity for informed decision making
regarding the common Nile resource.
project has made an in-depth analysis of the major constraints
in hydro-meteorological data acquisition. Vandalism and
high operating costs were found among the leading causes
in the Nile basin for declining monitoring activities. By
introducing modern electronic hydrometric instruments, operating
costs were reduced to within the budgetary means of the
respective water departments.
substantial training program accompanied the introduction
of the modern monitoring technology. Hands-on national and
regional workshops created a core group of trained professionals
who are now fully conversant in the installation, operation,
and maintenance of the new instruments. This core group,
however, is generally limited in size. Of more concern is
that trained operators are absent in some riparians due
to staff turnover, leaving a void behind.
broaden the hydrometric community in the Nile basin and
to further internalize the modern technology, limited training
activities have been scheduled. This program specifically
focuses on countries that experience large staff turnover.
Training is implemented by regional experts.
project budget includes limited funds for network expansion.
Strategy for Sustainable Data Acquisition
monitoring is experiencing fundamental changes because of
rapid advances in computer, battery, and cellular communication
technology. New electronic hydrometric instruments have
large internal memory, are small in size, and have low power
consumption. Data loggers now routinely include enough memory
to store a full year of recordings.
innovations have a profound impact on monitoring practices.
Operating expenses are drastically reduced because monthly
field visits - to set a clock or change a chart - are no
longer necessary. Electronic data transfer has greatly simplified
data processing and quality control. Vandalism is reduced
because instruments are portable or can be hidden in stilling
wells due to their small size. Using the mobile phone network,
data can be transferred to the central database on a daily
project has capitalized on these developments by introducing
a carefully selected set of modern electronic hydro-meteorological
instruments in all Nile countries. This includes:
Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for river flow
• Thalimedes shaft operated water level recorders;
• Pressure transducers for water level recording in
• Automatic weather stations;
• Automatic evaporation measurement stations on buoys
in Lake Nasser.
experience in the field so far is generally positive with
the vast majority of stations established fully operational.
Risks are predominantly concerned with staff turn-over and
with insufficient computer skills of hydrometric technicians.
Workshops Facilitated by Regional Experts
hydrometric Nile professionals are facilitating training
events for their colleagues in other countries in working
with the modern equipment. An example is the ADCP workshop
organized in Jinja, Uganda, where specialist from the Water
Resources Management Department in Uganda trained their
Rwandan colleagues in river flow measurement – see
the Events Archive. The
workshop illustrates the project policy to train trainers
and to build on expertise residing in the Nile countries.
This approach is both cost effective and fosters the establishment
of a Nile basin community of experts. It will also reduce
the need for outside support. Combining the experience and
expertise of monitoring specialists from all Nile countries
will broaden the user base for the new technology and thus
project is setting up a hydro-meteorological monitoring
forum with the aim to network hydrometric professionals
in the basin and to provide an affordable means for exchanging
experience. All Nile hydrometric professionals will be invited
to subscribe. They can pose practical questions regarding
the operation and maintenance of the new instruments. Local
solutions to common monitoring problems can be discussed
and exchanged. In developing the forum, cooperation is sought
with the NELSAP Kagera Water Resources Project. Limited
support will be requested from the suppliers of the hydrometric
instruments. Hydro Forum