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Identifier WISE-SoE_WaterQuality
Short name WISE SoE - Water Quality
Registration status Released 18 May 2017
Reference URL
Name WISE SoE - Water Quality (WISE-4)
Keywords water quality, Water
Short Description Data on water quality.
Definition Data on water quality in rivers, lakes and groundwater reported by countries within WISE-SoE reporting.
Methodology for obtaining data OVERVIEW:

Water quality in rivers, lakes and groundwater is reported under WISE-SoE using a harmonised data model. All determinands (nutrients, hazardous substances and supportive determinands) are coded using a unique identifier. The representation of values below the limit of quantification is identical for disaggregated data, data aggregated by monitoring site or data aggregated by water body for all water categories (rivers, lakes, groundwater) and for all determinands.

Raw data (i.e. sample values) is reported in the DisaggregatedData table.

Annually aggregated data, by monitoring site, is reported in the AggregatedData table. This includes biological determinands that are not reported using Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) – for example chlorophyll a.

Biological data reported as EQR values, in river or lake monitoring sites, is reported in the BiologyEQRData table. The BiologyEQRClassificationProcedure table provides information on the ecological status or ecological potential class boundaries for the EQR values.

Annually aggregated data, by water body, is reported in the AggregatedDataByWaterBody table.

The full list of determinands, and the indicative thresholds for "potentially high mean annual value" of selected nutrients (i.e. used to flag potential outliers in the quality control procedures), is available in

1. Coverage and reference period

The data should be derived from existing national or regional monitoring programs within each country.

Submit data collected up to the end of the previous year (e.g. in 2015, submit data collected until the end of 2014).

2. Data content

Reporting of disaggregated data (i.e. sample data) is preferred for all determinands in groundwater, rivers and lakes (except for biological EQR values, please see below).

If disaggregated data is not available for reporting, then submit annually aggregated data, by monitoring site, using the AggregatedData table (i.e. for nutrients and selected biological determinands in rivers or lakes).

Reporting of data annually aggregated by water bodies is accepted only for selected determinands in groundwater (nitrate, nitrite, ammonium and dissolved oxygen) and only in the case disaggregated data or data aggregated by monitoring site can not be provided. Use the table AggregatedDataByWaterBody to report this data.

For nitrate, concentrations should be expressed in mg{NO3}/L (milligram of nitrate per litre), both for surface water and groundwater.
For nitrite, concentrations should be expressed in mg{NO2}/L (milligram of nitrite per litre), both for surface water and groundwater.
For ammonium, concentrations should be expressed in mg{NH4}/L (milligram of ammonium per litre), both for surface water and groundwater.

If needed, the following conversion factors can be applied to convert from mg{N}/L (milligram of Nitrogen per litre) to the adequate unit:

1 mg{N}/L = 4.427 mg{NO3}/L
1 mg{N}/L = 3.2845 mg{NO2}/L
1 mg{N}/L = 1.288 mg{NH4}/L

There is no need to report both BOD7 and BOD5. BOD5 is preferred, but if BOD7 was reported in the past do not switch from BOD7 to BOD5.

Dissolved fractions of metals (copper dissolved, nickel dissolved, iron dissolved, ...) are not available as specific items in the list of determinands anymore. Instead of this, please use the codelist option "dissolved" in procedureAnalysedFraction field for specification of such determinands.

Use the BiologyEQRData table to report the annual mean value of biological Ecological Quality Ratio (EQR) data in rivers or lakes and report the class boundaries values using the BiologyEQRClassificationProcedure table.

3. Data publication

Disaggregated data is preferred even where reporting of aggregated data is still acceptable (e.g. for hazardous substances in rivers or lakes; nitrate, nitrite, ammonium and dissolved oxygen in groundwater). Disaggregated data will be published by EEA.

Data will be also aggregated prior to publication in Waterbase. Annually aggregated data will be used as the basis of assessment in indicator factsheets or reports.

4. Spatial reference data

The time series reported under the WISE SoE Water Quality data flow must be linked to a monitoring site (or to a groundwater body, for data aggregated by water body), using a unique identifier. The location, identification and characteristics of the spatial objects must be provided via the WISE Spatial data flow.

If a monitoring site or water body is reported also under the WFD, then use the WFD identifier as the unique identifier.

During the quality control procedures of the data reported under the WISE SoE Water Quality, the consistency of these identifiers will be checked against the spatial data already reported. (Please note that the spatial data does not have to be reported annually. However, updates to the spatial data (e.g. new monitoring sites, changes in the identifiers, etc.) should be reported.

5. Values below the limit of quantification in disaggregated data

If, for a specific sample value, the measured concentration is below the limit of quantification, then report the limit of quantification value in the "Observed Value" field and report 'True' (or '1') in the boolean "Observed value below LOQ" field.

6. Values below the limit of quantification in annually aggregated data

When preparing annually aggregated data, sample concentrations below the limits of quantification must be treated in accordance to the QA/QC Directive (Commission directive 2009/90/EC of 31 July 2009 laying down, pursuant to Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, technical specifications for chemical analysis and monitoring of water status):

- If a sample concentration value is below the limit of quantification, then, for the mean value calculation only, it must be replaced with a value equivalent to HALF THE LIMIT OF QUANTIFICATION value;

- If the calculated annual mean value of the measurements results is below the limit of quantification value, then report the limit of quantification value in the "resultMeanValue" field and set 'True' (or '1') in the boolean "resultQualityMeanBelowLOQ" field. Use the same rule when reporting minimum, maximum and median values. If the samples in the aggregation had different limits of quantification, then the highest of the different LOQ values must be used in these cases.

7. Reporting data at water body level

The aggregation process should consist of two phases: first, calculate the annual mean value by monitoring site; then use the results to calculate the annual mean value by water body. Using this approach, the influence of different number of samples at monitoring site level is eliminated.

8. Decimal separators and precision of the reported data

Use a decimal point '.' as the decimal separator. Do not use a comma ','.

The general recommendation concerning the decimal precision is as follows:
- Use 1 to 3 decimal places in reporting nutrients (usually in milligrams per litre),
- Use 3 to 4 decimals places in reporting hazardous substances (usually in micrograms per litre).

9. Other recommendations

If disaggregated data is reported, then do NOT report redundant aggregated data.

Please provide long time series without gaps and as complete a geographic coverage as possible.

10. Reporting format and delivery

Use the reporting templates (MS Excel or XML schemas) and these specifications when formatting and collating the data delivery. The templates can be downloaded from the data dictionary.

Data can be delivered in XML files or in MS Excel file format. Please do not use formulas in MS Excel files and do not rename the worksheets or column names. The file name can be renamed.

Delivery can be split into a multiple files if necessary. All the files must, however, be uploaded to the same envelope.

Upload the data files to the Central Data Repository at

A WISE SoE Water Quality folder will be created by the EEA under your country’s collection.

If you have any questions about the format and content of the data request please contact WISE-SoE helpdesk, e-mail:
Version November 2015
Owner (Accountable)
Reporting obligation

Data model

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Dataset tables

Full name Short name
Sample data by monitoring site DisaggregatedData
Annual statistics data by monitoring sit ... AggregatedData
Annual statistics data by water body AggregatedDataByWaterBody
Annual biology EQR data by monitoring si ... BiologyEQRData
Classification procedure for ecological ... BiologyEQRClassificationProcedure

Complex attributes

Submit Organisation European Topic Centre on Inland, Coastal and Marine waters
Anita Künitzer