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Informing decisions about our most vital resource, water.

The health and quality of our inland and coastal waterways are under threat from increasing human activity, including urbanisation, population growth, land use changes, deforestation, competition for the resource with irrigation and farming needs, and contamination.

Water quality is also under pressure from the effects of climate change. As variations become more marked, the environmental impact from drought, bush fire sediment, storm events, toxic algal blooms and contamination is growing.

Whilst water quality sensors provide good data, they are restricted to the specific area where they are installed. By incorporating satellite sensors and in-situ sensors with data analysis and artificial intelligence, we can create an integrated system to deliver accurate monitoring and forecasting across Australia and even the world.

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[Images move through of a view looking down on a monitoring site on a clifftop, a close satellite view looking down on the Earth, and a whale swimming through the ocean, and text appears: … and improve the quality of life on Earth]

[Images move through to show waves rolling in on the shore, blowholes pushing water upwards on a reef, a view of the sea, mangroves at the water’s edge, and sea crashing against a cliff base, and text appears: The AquaWatch Australia mission to safeguard the health and quality safety of our most precious resource…]

[Images move through to show a waterfall, and then a stream flowing through the mountains, and then the image changes to show a view looking down on a roiling sea, and text appears… water]

[Images move through of a male drinking water from a bottle, a female drinking water from a bottle, a person’s reflection in the water, and a female cupping water in her hands and drinking, and text appears: To ensure fresh, clean, safe water…]

[Image changes to show a close view of hands being washed at a sink, and text appears: … for sanitation and hygiene…]

[Images move through of a close view of vegetables being washed under a tap, a shellfish being opened under running water, a person watering a lettuce crop, a close view of sprinklers in a paddock, raindrops falling on a paddock, and sprinklers operating in the paddock, and text appears: To secure the quality of water for our crops…]

[Images move through to show view of cows grazing near a pond, a group of people canoeing down a river, and a person surfing, and text appears… for our farms, for our recreation…]

[Images move through to show a view of a wetlands, and the camera pans over the wetlands, and text appears: … for our environment]

[Images move through of a view of a road running along the coast, traffic flashing by the camera, a view of multilane crisscrossing highways, a construction site, and a view looking down on a dam, and text appears: Water is impacted by human activity…]

[Images move through of swirling clouds, waves crashing on the rocks, and a storm blowing in from the sea onto a township on the land, and text appears: Water is impacted by weather events…]

[Images move through of a view looking down on a township near the beach with a large bushfire in the background, the sun shining on water, lightning in the sky, a map of the world globe, and a close view of dry and cracked earth, and text appears: Water is impacted by climate change…]

[Images move through of a flooded landscape, algae in a creek, and polluted water washing out into the ocean, and text appears: … by harmful algal blooms]

[Images move through of a map of the world globe, a close view of algal blooms under a microscope, and a dead fish in green sludgy water]

[Images move through of various data and graphs in the foreground while a sea view can be seen in the background, and then the image moves to the left and SmartSat, UQ, Curtin University, UNSW Canberra, ANU, University of Adelaide, and Water Research Australia logos appear on the right, and text appears: With our partners… ]

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[Images move through to show silos and a dock on the shore, and a view looking down on wetlands, and text appears: … monitor these impact]

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[Images move through of a view looking down on a reef, and text appears: … manage the health of our aquatic ecosystems…]

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[Images move through of two males assembling an aquatic sensor buoy, a close view of the buoy floating in a harbour, and then a view looking down on the buoy floating in the harbour, and text appears: … with data from a dense network of aquatic sensors]

[Images move through of mangrove area on the coast, various diagrams of the Earth, the satellite orbiting the Earth, a satellite scanning the water, and people looking at data on a wall screen, and text appears: We are building the world’s first integrated continental-scale water quality monitoring system…]

[Images move through of the satellite orbiting the Earth, an aquatic sensor buoy floating in the harbour, a multicorer being deployed from a research vessel, and a spinning world globe]

[Images move through of researchers at work with a satellite dish, and then the image changes to show a satellite orbiting the Earth and scanning, and text appears: … known as AquaWatch Australia]

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[Image changes to show researchers in conversation and monitoring various maps, and text appears: … Prediction modelling and forecasting…]

[Image changes to show data appearing on the screen, and text appears: … Data analytics…]

[Images move through of views looking down on a river through farmland, a dry riverbed and data appearing in the foreground, and text appears: … We are leveraging our expertise in Environmental monitoring to deliver critical data for decision makers with…]

[Images move through to show a world map, and a close view of swirling colours on the map, and text appears: … Real time updates, Forecasts…]

[Image changes to show a view looking down on floodwater spilling out into the sea, and text appears: Predictive analytics and warning for climate stressors…]

[Image changes to show a view looking down on a landslide on the coast, and then the image changes to show a person sampling water in a test tube, and then looking at it, and text appears: …Harmful or toxic water quality events]

[Images move through to show a male using a piece of equipment, a close view of a male walking towards the camera, a group of students working on soil samples, and a male crossing a creek holding a soil sample in a tube, and text appears: Working with the brightest minds across the research sector…]

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[Images move through of a hexapod moving over dirt, a close view of a 3D printer in operation, and a satellite map of the coast with data in the foreground, and text appears: … to leverage Australia’s research and industrial strengths]

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[Images move through of a spinning world globe with data appearing around it, a view of a satellite dish, a view of a satellite in orbit, and the satellite in the foreground and the Earth in the background, and text appears: … drive investment in environmental monitoring and Earth observation ecosystem]

[Images move through of a view looking down on a river, people walking through a drying riverbed, and two people rowing a boat in a river, and text appears: Safeguard our regional and remote communities…]

[Images move through of a male casting a fishing net into the sea, four women carrying waterpots along the shore of a river, a close view of a male wearing a straw hat, and a terraced aquafarm type area, and text appears: … Support the UN Sustainable Development Goals…]

[Images move through of a sandy shore, a view looking down on a river, the coastline, and a view looking down on a reef, and text appears: … and Australia’s contribution to GEO AquaWatch]

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[Image changes to show the satellite orbiting the Earth, a view looking down on a mangrove swamp, and a cross-section view of a varying water levels in a river, and text appears: To help innovate, improve, grow…]

[Images move through of water washing up on rocks, water crashing on the shore, a seagrass bed, a turbulent sea, the top of a waterfall, and a close view of the top of the waterfall, and text appears: … a more valuable and resilient environment]

[Images move through of views looking down on the coast and then various bodies of water, the sun shining over water, and the sun passing behind the Earth, and the CSIRO logo and text appears: Unlocking a better future for everyone]

[Image changes to show text: SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, Foundation partner]

[Sounds of water can be heard, and new text appears: Thank you to our partners, Founding partner – Smartsat CRC, Research Partners – University of Queensland, Curtin University, UNSW Canberra, Australian National University, The University of Adelaide, Water Research Australia, Footage CSIRO, NASA, Stock, Getty Images]

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Water is our most precious resource.

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Potential impact

Supporting better water quality management and early warning of harmful events

AquaWatch will support better water quality management across Australia and the world with accurate monitoring and forecasts providing early warning of harmful events such as toxic algal blooms, blackwater and runoff contamination.

The data it provides will be critical to helping environmental managers improve outcomes for our natural environment and aquatic biodiversity, including after devastating events like bushfires and floods.

It will increase resilience of communities that depend on water for drinking, sanitation and agriculture as they face increasing climate pressures and extreme weather. The data will also enhance industrial and commercial water resource management, planning and policy.

AquaWatch Australia will provide an early warning system to improve management of harmful algae blooms and contaminants. This timely data will support communities to better manage human and animal health impacts from toxic water quality events.

It will also assist with monitoring and managing our aquatic ecosystems and reducing the economic impact on industries that rely on safe healthy marine environments, such as aquaculture, fishing, tourism and recreation.

The benefits extend to coastal areas with the ability to monitor bays, coastal wetlands, aquaculture farming, mangrove forests and coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef. In addition to the many applications of AquaWatch, it is expected the development, design, build and roll-out of the system infrastructure will directly stimulate growth in Australia's domestic space capability, and drive expertise in remote sensing, advanced manufacturing and engineering.


An integrated ground-to-space water quality monitoring system

Together with our partners, we are co-designing and building the AquaWatch system of technologies to monitor water quality with real-time data and predictive analysis.

The system will use an extensive network of Earth observation satellites and ground-based water sensors to monitor the quality of Australia’s inland and coastal waterways.

Data from both the in-situ water sensors and sensors on the satellites, will then be integrated at a central data hub where CSIRO’s capability in data analysis and predictive modelling can provide forecasts a few days ahead.


Working together to deliver innovation and impact

Success depends on strong collaboration across industry, research and governments. Together we can leverage existing knowledge and capabilities and develop new solutions for a more resilient Australia.

We are seeking additional partners to help us reach our goal of a safeguarding water quality across Australia and around the world.

Please connect with us if you would like to know more about AquaWatch Australia.  We are interested in connecting with all end users needing to improve their water quality information, and any partners who can support AquaWatch in areas including Infrastructure and data services, Earth observation satellite design, construction and data processing, managing and implementing sensor networks, and predictive modelling for real-time applications.


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