Skip to main content

Downstream Service/Application Development for Supporting Implementation of EU Water Framework Directive in Estonia

Point of contact
Krista Alikas
Tartu observatory of University of Tartu
Observatooriumi
61602 Tõravere
Phone: +372-737-4522


Several EU policies can be supported by EU Copernicus data, and this helps verifying the compliance of these policies. EU Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC (WFD) states the need to restore and protect waterbodies from further degradation. The directive aims to harmonize European legislation on water; and member states shall establish a programme for monitoring the status of all waterbodies larger than 0.5 km², in order to ensure future quality and quantity of inland waters. This puts heavy financial burden on national monitoring agencies. Copernicus satellites Sentinel 3/OLCI and Sentinel 2/MSI provide data that could be potentially used for monitoring phytoplankton and transparency related parameter as additional source of information for reporting requirements as set by WFD. Objective was chosen according the request by National Environmental Agency of Estonia and discussions in international aquatic remote sensing research and user community.

TO team will use Copernicus S3/OLCI and S2/MSI data together with relevant Copernicus marine service products to produce WFD compatible parameters. As already known, for the inland waters the existing products are not accurate enough. Case specific algorithms need to be developed for the estimation of lakes’ ecological status class based on phytoplankton and transparency. S3/OLCI provides higher spectral and radiometric resolution while S2/MSI has higher spatial resolution – the advantages and limitations of these sensors will be analysed based on the test sites. This allows developing new applications for Copernicus data and uncertainties for supporting WFD monitoring requirements. To ensure the use of this new digital tool by environmental agencies, simple guidelines with user manual in Estonian and English will be added together with feedback system. The system will be available for the further development in other regions and continuously improved according the user feedback.

Outputs and Results

  • Main output is a downstream application prototype
  • For demonstration of feasibility, there will be organized a workshop with national environmental agencies who are responsible for monitoring Estonian water bodies and reporting the ecological status class; their feedback will help to improve the developed Earth observation product portfolio
  • The dissemination of results will improve the potential of including Copernicus data as an additional source of data for national monitoring and assessment programs
  • The updated portfolio products will be featured via Estonian Collaboration Ground Segment (ESTHub) which will increase the awareness of EO data for environmental monitoring capa-bilities both in Estonia and in neighbouring countries with similar natural environment but also more generally in EU
  • Case studies will be published in national portal of Copernicus