The Waterbodies Monitoring Service identifies more than 700,000 unique water bodies across Africa, incorporating over forty years of satellite observations. Updated on a weekly basis, the service maps persistent and seasonal waterbodies and the changes in the surface area of water in each of these over time. Waterbodies include lakes, ponds, man-made reservoirs, wetlands, and segments of river systems.

The service is unique among satellite-based global surface water datasets  given the accessible and operational nature of the service and the focus on providing timely, relevant and interpretable information to decision makers.

Digital Earth Africa Waterbodies Monitoring Service key differentiators

Several key functionalities set the Digital Earth Africa Waterbodies Monitoring Service apart from other global waterbodies services. Importantly, the service provides waterbodies statistics for every country on the African continent, and is updated weekly with the most recent satellite measurements. 

While other datasets have provided important information on the presence or absence of surface water, the Digital Earth Africa Waterbodies Monitoring Service takes this a step further by providing the actual surface extent, along with the wet surface area, as a time series for each individual waterbody. 

Applications of the Waterbodies Monitoring Service

The service has been developed to support Africa’s governments, policymakers, and key private sector actors in undertaking insightful planning, adopting critical risk mitigation strategies, and proactively managing Africa’s settlements, cities, communities, and livelihood activities which are dependent on, or adjacent to waterbodies.

The power of the service lies in how it is being applied in real-world scenarios. There are multiple applications which includes providing detailed understanding of surface water availability, dry season access to water, changes in water body sizes over time, and an understanding of potential flood risks. 

How to access the Waterbodies Monitoring Service

The service is accessible via the Digital Earth Africa interactive maps platform and the sandbox analytical environment. Additionally, an API has been introduced to the Waterbodies Monitoring Service to ensure that service providers and product developers can directly integrate these data into their work, thereby creating customised queries around waterbody extents historical wet surface area, and changes related to these.