Freshwater quality – remote and in situ measurements

The degradation of surface- and groundwater quality through the effects of pathogens, contaminants, nutrients, excess heat, and other factors poses a substantial threat to future water availability and human health. Monitoring is necessary to determine the current status of water quality conditions and to help anticipate, mitigate, and even avoid future water catastrophes.

Although the vast majority of water quality data have been obtained through localized point measurements, on-line sensors and remote sensing have the potential to expand available data sets dramatically. This will require, however, that operational observation systems are developed and the resulting information systems made compatible and interoperable as part of the GEO system of systems. Spatial and temporal information from remote sensing can be used to validate and update detailed models for the transport and fate of chemical substances and their effect on drinking water quality and ecosystems.