Water quality monitoring is the essential foundation of water resources management. Water quality data is needed to anticipate water quality changes, used for examining long-term trends, episodic events (spills), and understanding watershed/water body connections.

Remote sensing is increasingly playing an important role in water quality monitoring as a cost-effective, spatially, and temporally comprehensive tool for observing often highly dynamic water quality conditions in coastal and inland waters. Satellite imagery is also not restricted by political borders and is particularly useful for monitoring data gaps, previously under-sampled and hard-to-access areas, which is a particularly acute problem in several developing countries. These gaps in monitoring needs along with cuts to traditional agency monitoring programs have highlighted the role of new technologies and organizations in gathering water quality data and information.

GEO AquaWatch, the community of practice organization brings together the world’s leading water quality experts, remote sensing specialists, and practitioners with the goal of building a global-scale water quality information service. AquaWatch is part of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which is an intergovernmental organization of 105 Member Countries and 129 Participating Organizations working to improve the availability, access and use of Earth Observations for the benefit of society, in our case, water quality.

Formed in 2007, GEO AquaWatch provides a venue for the sharing of best practices and advocating for the importance of sustained and routine water quality monitoring at a global scale.

Some of GEO AquaWatch’s objectives include facilitating effective partnerships between the water quality data producers and providers with the users, integration of in situ and remote sensing data, developing and delivering fit-for-purpose products, improving access to water quality data, and finally, advocating for increased education and capacity building of remote sensing information for water resources management and policy.

If interested in joining a working group or getting involved in AquaWatch, please contact the AquaWatch Secretariat (Merrie-Beth Neely) at [email protected]