Monitoring water quality

The Global Environment Monitoring System for freshwater (GEMS/Water) provides the worldGEMS/Water logo community with sound data on fresh water quality to support scientific assessments and decision-making on the subject.

Surface and ground water quality monitoring data collected from the global GEMS/Water monitoring network is shared through the GEMStat information system.

GEMS/Water supports the Sustainable Development Goal for Water (SDG 6) with methodology support, data management, quality assurance, indicator calculation and capacity development.

GEMS/Water was established in 1978 to collect world-wide water quality data for assessments of status and trends in global inland water quality. In 2014, after more than 30 years of being successfully operated by the Department of the Environment of Canada, the GEMS/Water mandate was renewed and strengthened by the first universal United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA). With new donors the Programme was restructured into its current form.


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Our work

We provide the world community with sound data on freshwater quality to support scientific assessments and decision-making. Our work falls into three categories:


GEMS/Water Data Centre | International Centre for Water Resources and Global Change | Federal Institute of Hydrology | P.O. Box 200253 | 56002 Koblenz | Germany | e-mail: gwdc[at] |

GEMS/Water Capacity Development Centre | Environmental Research Institute | University College Cork | Ireland | Ms. Deborah Chapman | Centre Director | e-mail: d.chapman[at]


Browse our collection of publications and other resources. Read more

Contact us

For general information please contact: kilian.christ[at]

GEMS/Water Global Programme Coordination Unit | Science Division | UN Environment | P.O. Box 30552 | Nairobi 00100 | Kenya