SentiLake: Sentinel-2 service for regular water quality monitoring in lakes

Lakes and reservoirs are important ecosystems providing such services as drinking water, recreation, support for biodiversity as well as regulation of carbon cycling and climate. There are about 117 million lakes in the world and a high need for regular monitoring of their water quality. European Water Framework Directive (WFD) stipulates that member states shall establish a programme for monitoring the ecological status of all water bodies larger than 50 ha, in order to ensure future quality and quantity of inland waters. But only a fraction of lakes are included in in-situ monitoring networks due to limited resources. 

Using remote sensing Institute for Environmental Solutions (IES) can monitor lakes over a large region with reasonable frequency and support the WFD status assessment process. Several Ecological parameters can be monitored from space – phytoplankton biomass, chlorophyll-a concentration, water transparency and frequency / intensity of algal blooms. Sentinel-2 optical satellites provide regular (every 5 days at the equator and 2 – 3 days in Latvia) and high spatial resolution (10 – 20 m/px) data stream for free within Copernicus program.  

Lake Lubāns in Sentinel-2 satellite image from 23-08-2018 (left) and estimated chlorophyll-a concentration from Sentinel-2 MSI spectral data (right). Image: Institute for Environmental Solutions


  1. To develop a service for regular monitoring of water quality parameters in lakes, especially larger than 50 ha;
  2. To support WFD and national monitoring program status assessment using Sentinel-2 MSI data;
  3. To raise awareness of local municipalities about the ecological status of their lakes. 


  1. Automated workflow for Sentinel-2 satellite data search, filtering and processing in order to extract parameters of interest – chlorophyll-a concentration and corresponding lake quality class;
  2. Interactive and customizable tool for data analysis and visualisations of the results;
  3. Seninel-2 satellite data from 2015 – 2019 processed and water quality parameters of interest extracted for 189 water bodies in project pilot territories – Vidzeme and Latgale regions in Latvia. 

Insight into the SentiLake Sentinel-2 data based lake monitoring tool. Image: Institute for Environmental Solutions

Project duration: July 2018 – June 2020

Project Manager: Dr.Phys. Dainis Jakovels,

The Project is financed byEuropean Space Agency’s programme The Plan for European Co-operating States