Satellite-derived Water Quality Data for Governmental Use


The State Office for the Environment of Baden-Wuerttemberg (LUBW) contracted EOMAP for multi-source water quality monitoring of more than 20 lakes within the federal state boundaries over a period of 17 years (2000-2017). The initiative served as a pilot project for the governmental use of satellite-derived water quality information. The environmental agencies are oblieged to regularly report ecological conditions and trophic state indices of water bodies under the EU Water Framework Directive (EU WFD). The measurement campaigns neccessary to fulfil these tasks are cost- and time-consuming.

EOMAP used high-resolution sensors Landsat-7/8 and Sentinel-2 in order to derive water parameters Turbidity, Secchi Disc Depth, Total Absorption, Organic Absorption, Chlorophyll-a and Harmful Algae Blooms for small lakes and reservoirs. Quality indication layers as well as spatially aggregated layers were delivered on top of this. Lake Constance, Germany’s biggest lake, was furthermore covered with medium resolution sensors MODIS AQUA/TERRA and Sentinel-3 to reach the highest possible temporal coverage from 2011-2017, dependent on environmental conditions. The datasets were pushed to a customized copy of EOMAP’s eoApp web visualization tool.

Not less than 1300 lakes bigger than 1ha mereley in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg illustrate the potential to be unlocked especially of the high-resolution satellite-based water quality monitoring for governmental applications. Following the LUBW pilot project, other federal or state agencies expressed their interest and initiated similar projects. Within the federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, a follow-up project to incorporate satellite data into operational measurement and reporting routines is envisaged.



Landesamt für Umwelt Baden-Württemberg (LUBW)

Project Type

Water Quality Monitoring, EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) Reporting


Water Quality, EU WFD, Baden-Wuerttemberg