Defining the Future of Copernicus Water Services

 Defining the Future of Copernicus Water Services

Horizon 2020 Project “Water-ForCE” is co-creating a Roadmap for the development of the next phase of Copernicus Inland Water Services with the space sector, research community, policy, industry and third sector. This will guide the user community and enhance the uptake of satellite-derived water quality and quantity products.

Unprecedented availability of free-to-access satellite data from the Copernicus programme has started to transform approaches for the assessment, monitoring and sustainable management of our aquatic environments. However, whilst the Copernicus Land Monitoring Service delivers the first generation of inland water quantity and quality products, other directly related products are fragmented across other services. R&D capabilities have rapidly advanced through H2020 and ESA projects working on inland water challenges, but this has resulted in fragmented efforts.

Water-ForCE will create a Roadmap that will help to provide cohesion across the services that will be benchmarked against community requirements. It will recommend services that should be delivered centrally by Copernicus and innovation opportunities that are better suited for business and research development. The Roadmap will also provide the strategy to ensure effective uptake of water-related services by end users, further support the implementation of relevant directives and policies and evidence policy development.


Water-ForCE brings together experts on water quality and quantity, in policy, research, engineering and service sectors. This includes existing Copernicus services (Land, Atmosphere, Marine, Climate Change, Security, Emergency) and networks (Copernicus Academy and Copernicus Relays), the European Space Agency, other Horizon 2020 projects and international organisations, as well as public and private research organisations. By working with these communities Water-ForCE will deliver:

  • A Roadmap for the water component of future Copernicus services defining which is the most optimal way forward taking into account that at present water products are split between several Copernicus Services.
  • Technical requirements for future Copernicus missions to fulfil better inland and coastal water related needs (e.g. optical configuration of Sentinel-2E and onward, CHIME hyperspectral sensor and onward).
  • Enlarged service portfolio, containing higher level biogeochemical products, and improved performance of the current products.
  • Closer cooperation between remote sensing, in situ and modelling communities in order to build an optimal network that provides necessary information about inland and coastal waters to policy makers, managers, researchers and general public. 


This cross-disciplinary approach will align in situ and remote observation as this is essential to furthering the exploitation of operational observation platforms. A strategy to integrate in situ networks will be defined, integrating approaches to product validation and filling observation gaps and thus strengthen user confidence. Technical requirements for the future Copernicus sensors will also be specified for optimal inland water monitoring needs and future service development.

Further Information

Check the official Water-ForCE website for the latest news, upcoming events and research results.

The project is led by the University of Tartu, Estonia. The dotSpace Foundation is one of 19 European partners working together to deliver the Roadmap.

Water-ForCE is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) from H2020-SPACE-2020 Call (grant agreement number: 101004186) that has received €2,999,575.00 EU Contribution.

Twitter: follow the project at @H2020WaterForCE

Horizon 2020 Project Water-ForCE

Remco Timmermans

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