This project was co-funded by SSGP and the Defra EO Centre of Excellence.
Monitoring the nation’s water quality is a multi-million pound responsibility of the Environment Agency (EA) involving 250,000 water samples annually from 19,000 chemical and 6,900 ecological monitoring sites. Under the Water Framework Directive (WFD), more than 80% of English rivers failed to reach good status in 2015. Earth observation (EO) -derived information can potentially help achieve savings by targeting the location of monitoring sites more efficiently and effectively.
The project developed a prototype system to support the targeting of monitoring effort to a smaller number of priority sites and provided tools to help with field investigations into the causes of water body failures. Earth observation data on crops in combination with other data on catchment boundaries, EA monitoring data, WFD water bodies and risk assessments are being examined for integration into business processes. There have also emerged additional benefits in targeting agricultural advice.
Evaluating the prototype to inform a full pilot study to translate the approach into an operational context. This will also generate detailed information on the costs and benefits of implementation. Further efficiencies will be achieved through on-going work to share the procurement of EO products used in this and other applications.