Satellite remote sensing for model calibration

Satellite remote sensing for model calibration

Satellite remote sensing can provide high spatial and temporal resolution data at near real time, much of the imagery is free and publicly available, long-term records exist for time series analysis, and the data is considered reliable enough for operational and forecasting systems. There is also an ongoing commitment from space agencies to continue collecting SRS data for public use.


To date, hundreds of peer-reviewed satellite remote sensing studies have been undertaken to develop chl-a and phycocyanin detection algorithms, validate algorithms between different regions and to understand the spatio-temporal dynamics of algal blooms. The range of algorithms reflect the nature of optically complex waters which show great variability in the concentration and ratios of the three main colour producing agents, chlorophyll, coloured dissolved organic matter, and suspended mineral particles.

WaterNSW is committed to investigating new water quality analytical methods and technologies. This allows the organisation to determine the most reliable forms of water quality monitoring that will result in the best return on investment. WaterNSW carries out risk-based in-situ sampling of all drinking and recreational reservoirs in addition to strategic rivers and creeks across the state per the Water Quality Monitoring Program (WQMP).

From an operational perspective, satellite remote sensing can potentially collect high-resolution data at a higher frequency depending on the pass over schedule and the detailed data can be used to inspect water quality characteristics in difficult to access areas as well as providing a broader view of reservoir health than grab sampling can provide. From a research perspective, satellite remote sensing can pinpoint the starting location of an algal bloom and track the spatial dynamics of the bloom allowing the detection of nutrient sources in the catchments in addition to algal trend analysis. This data can be used to inform the success of or need for catchment protection interventions.

Currently, WaterNSW is developing a new water quality model, the Integrated Water Quality Model. The model will be used to predict water quality in the NSW Declared Catchment Area, facilitating WaterNSW’s proactive approach to managing water quality for Sydney. The Integrated Water Quality Modelling project will provide that capability and enable WaterNSW to provide a step change in how we harness, use, and analyse information on water quality and quantity. The proposed project is designed to support the development of the Integrated Water Quality Model for the Declared Catchment Area.

Working with the Water Quality Programs and Water Quality Modelling teams, this project will investigate the utility of satellite remote sensing data in the quantitative analysis of water quality parameters in drinking water storages in the Declared Catchment Area, detect and describe long term changes in the water bodies, and evaluate and determine whether this data can be used to calibrate the Integrated Water Quality Model.

WaterRA Contact

Dr Arash Zamyadi
0437 731 414

Amount being sought

Final budget will be dependent on final proposals.

Due Date

5th Aug, 2022