Global water quality portal to support UNESCO

March 1st, 2018, Published in Articles: EE Publishers, Articles: PositionIT

Eomap has built a global water quality portal using earth observation and satellite data to support the International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ) of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme (IHP). The comprehensive IIWQ World Water Quality Portal will assist with global water quality assessment and capacity building for streams, lakes and rivers.

Monitoring water quality is essential to determine the health of freshwater systems as well as identify signs of degradation. The degradation of water quality threatens human health, limits food production, reduces ecosystem functions and hinders economic growth. Emerging pollutants and changing climate patterns bring about a new water quality challenge with unknown long-term impacts on human health and ecosystems.

World Water Quality Portal, UNESCO-IHP IIWQ (Credit: Eomap)

World Water Quality Portal, UNESCO-IHP IIWQ.

Based on Eomap’s web service, the portal is a cost-saving solution to water quality monitoring providing users with near real-time data, campaign planning support, and access to remote and inaccessible areas. As a web-based service, users can quickly obtain measurements for any location worldwide.

A range of satellite-based water quality parameters such as turbidity, chlorophyll and indicators for toxic Cyanobacteria blooms can be mapped globally with weekly or even daily sampling frequencies under cloud-free conditions. The portal also includes the ability to select different time periods dating back over the last three decades. Historic measurements are provided at 30 m resolution for selected regions of each continent throughout 2016, and can be continued with various spatial and temporal resolution.

Florida Lakes, USA, World Water Quality Portal, UNESCO-IHP IIWQ (Credit: Eomap)

Florida Lakes, USA, World Water Quality Portal, UNESCO-IHP IIWQ.

Remote sensing is an efficient and cost-effective tool to assess a variety of physical and biological parameters in aquatic ecosystems over small-scaled and large areas. The IIWQ Portal can respond to the challenges that utilities and other agencies have for effectively monitoring and responding to water quality threats such as algal blooms and turbidity. It combines high resolution global coverage with a range of measurements needed for effective global water quality monitoring and user-friendly features.

The water quality information is made available freely and is accessible through the IIWQ World Water Quality Portal at Environmental managers, politicians and scientists can ingest the service directly through the UNESCO web mapping service into their geospatial information systems for analysis and assessment.

Contact Marie-Luise Wilhelm, Eomap,