The critical gap in data in the Nile Basin has been recognized early during the preparation of the first set of cooperative projects under NBI. As a result, NBI developed the Nile River Basin Monitoring Strategy to guide its activities for enhancing the monitoring system in the Nile Basin. The strategy was endorsed by the NBI governance and remains the guiding document for the design of the regional monitoring network. Gaps in spatial coverage and time series in key catchments result in an incomplete understanding and knowledge of bio-physical conditions, setbacks in strategic assessment and water resources planning, suboptimal water management decisions, and delays in planning and execution of investment projects.

Some 14 issues were first identified by NBI Member States; these included: improved water resource planning and management; flood management; rain-fed agricultural management, irrigated agricultural management; drought management; soil erosion and sediment transport; surface water quality; groundwater management; hydropower; navigation; fisheries; watershed management; wetlands management; and climate change. These regional issues played a key role in the methodology of station selection for the regional network. Information collected by the system will be accessible to all NBI Member States through the NBI Regional Data Management system; guided by the effective data sharing protocol among the NBI countries. NBI will compile all the data collected within the riparian countries and provide synthesized information, trends, patterns, and facts that will inform both national and regional water resources planning and management.