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Extent and conditions of all water features including rivers, lakes and marine features.

Why is this theme fundamental?
Water, as a gas, liquid and solid, covers more than 70% of the Earth's surface. Water is critical to almost every process on Earth. It is essential to all living things – plant and animal.

Water is critical to sustainable development. From a human-centred systems perspective, water is a precious natural resource, vital for life, development and the environment, depending on how it occurs and how it is managed. Study of the Earth’s water cycle helps understand how it interacts with the environment and how much is available for human use. Conversely, it’s also a potential danger to people and property.

Coastal and transitional waters as well as the shoreline and the shore are relevant since these areas of land-water proximity are significant in terms of environment and intense economic activity.

Which sustainable development goals (SDGs) will it help to meet?
This theme has strong relevance for SDGs 6 and 14, and relevance to SDGs 2,3,7,9,11,12,13,14, and 15.

Geospatial data features in more detail
Water within this theme includes water in all three states – fresh, brackish and salt.

Features include rivers, lakes, reservoirs, marine & glacial features and groundwater. All features will have a geometric location and identifier of some type. This might be a name.

Possible attributes will vary by sub-theme i.e. marine features may require different attribution such as salinity or temperature, as compared with terrestrial rivers e.g. size and flow, but all can be thought of as relating to water quality, quantity and form.
  • Quality: e.g. physical parameters such as temperature, pH, e-coli, turbidity, salinity, etc;
  • Quantity: e.g. volume, direction, velocity; and,
  • Form: e.g. ice, snow, fresh, salt, season patterns e.g. monsoons.

Possible sources of data

Existing Data Standards
Note: This is indicative. Other lists of standards exist and UN-GGIM will seek to work with thematic experts to develop a list of relevant data standards.

Some relevant standards for water resources related data:
  • INSPIRE data specification on Hydrography;
  • S-44 - IHO Standards for Hydrographic Surveys;
  • S-57 - Transfer Standard for Digital Hydrographic Data;
  • S-100 - IHO Universal Hydrographic Data Model;
  • ISO 1900 - Series of geographic standards for hydrographic, maritime and related issues;
  • ISO 14046:2014 - Environmental management -- Water footprint;
  • ISO/TC 147 - Water quality;
  • UNSD - International Recommendations for Water Statistics (IRWS); and,
  • OGC® WaterML 2 Part 3 - Surface Hydrology Features (HY_Features) - Conceptual Model.