WHAT WE DO 
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

TRANSBOUNDARY HYDRO-METEOROLOGICAL MONITORING NETWORK    

 
   

Outputs

• 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.

Background

The 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.

The 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.

A 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.

To 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.

The project budget includes limited funds for network expansion.

A Strategy for Sustainable Data Acquisition

Hydrometric 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.

These 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 basis.

The 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 measurement;
• Thalimedes shaft operated water level recorders;
• Pressure transducers for water level recording in volatile rivers;
• Automatic weather stations;
• Automatic evaporation measurement stations on buoys in Lake Nasser.

The 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.

National Workshops Facilitated by Regional Experts

Qualified 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 enhance sustainability.

Hydro-meteorological Monitoring Forum

The 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

Indroducing modern technology for data acquisation
 
Installing modern electronic sensors
 
Evaporation buoy on Lake Nasser
 
Surveying the river cross section
 
 
Cableway for flow measurement at Setit river in Sudan
 
Station in Eritrea: occurrence of flash floods complicates data acquisation
 
Launching the boat before the ADCP measurement