A key concern of the CryoSat-2 orbit has been its long repeat period of 369 days, which is usually undesirable for river and lake monitoring. However, the results of this study show that CryoSat-2 data can indeed be used for such monitoring by utilizing the high spatial coverage and the sub-cycle period of 30 days. The performance of CryoSat-2/SIRAL altimetry for river level monitoring is investigated by studying river levels retrieved from Ganges and Brahmaputra. An evaluation of CryoSat-2 river levels from LRM, SAR and SARIn data is performed by comparing with Envisat data from the period in which the two missions overlapped (2010–2012). Time series constructed using simple linear interpolation are fitted with a model to compare the captured annual signals and amplitudes. The annual cycles seen in CryoSat-2 and Envisat altimetry data agree very well and provide confidence in using CryoSat-2 data to continue river level archives from satellite radar altimetry.