CANBERRA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Australia's national science agency has launched a mission to create a global monitoring system for water quality.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) on Wednesday announced an 83 million Australian dollar (55.5 million U.S. dollar) investment in developing and designing AquaWatch Australia.
Using a network of sensors linked to satellites, AquaWatch will constantly check water quality in near real-time, supporting better management by providing early warnings of toxic algal blooms and runoff contamination.
Larry Marshall, chief executive of the CSIRO, said the weather service for water could improve the resilience of communities that are dependent on healthy waterways.
"Imagine taking your family to the local swimming spot and being able to open your phone and check the water quality before they dive in. Or better yet, getting a forecast for the water quality days before you planned your family day out," he said.
"Now imagine the impact of this if you were an environment manager, able to receive advance warning of the oxygen-depleted blackwater events often responsible for mass fish kills. Or an aquaculture farmer able to plan ahead for an impending algal bloom."
AquaWatch will be able to monitor water in rivers, bays, wetlands, mangrove forests, aquaculture farming and coral reefs including the Great Barrier Reef.
Imaging from space will be cross-checked with on-site readings to produce water quality projections for days ahead at each site.
"The ingenuity behind AquaWatch is it integrates Earth observation with other science capabilities like in-situ sensing, ecosystem modelling, engineering, data science and artificial intelligence," Marshall said. ■