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153.911132,-28.214062 153.911132,-37.637435 140.947265,-37.637435 140.947265,-28.214062 153.911132,-28.214062


Water count and water prevalence - NSW


This dataset indicates the presence and persistence of water across New South Wales between 1988 and 2012. Water is one of the world’s most important resources as it’s critical for human consumption, agriculture, the persistence of flora and fauna species and other ecosystem services. Information about the spatial distribution and prevalence of water is necessary for a range of business, modelling, monitoring, risk assessment, and conservation activities. For example, one of the necessary steps in the NSW State-wide Landcover and Trees Study (SLATS), which monitors vegetation change and is used in the production of vegetation maps, involves removing non-vegetative features such as water bodies through water masking. Water count The water count product is based on water index and water masks for NSW (Danaher & Collett 2006), and represents the proportion of observations with water present across the Landsat time series as a fraction of total number of possible observations in the 25yr period (1 Jan 1988 to 31 Dec 2012). The product has two bands where band 1 is the number of times water was present across the time series, and band 2 is the count of unobscured (i.e. non-null) input pixels, or number of total observations for that pixel. Cloud, cloud-shadow, steep slopes and topographic shadow can obscure the ability to count water presence. Water Prevalence The water prevalence product is extracted from the water count product and provides a measure of the relative persistence of water in the landscape (e.g. from always present to rarely and never present). There are 12 classes representing the percentage of time a pixel has had water present out of the total number of observations for that pixel (i.e Band 1/Band 2 of the water count product). Water prevalence mapping provides information for multiple, wide-reaching applications. For example, distance to locations of persistent water bodies can be modelled as a contributing indicator of potential biodiversity refugia. Files align with Landsat paths and rows (see, with files for water count denoted 'dd7' and water prevalence 'ddh'.

This work was funded by Local Land Services and completed by the Joint Remote Sensing Research Program and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Landsat data was sourced from the United States Geological Survey.

The maps are intended for rural landscapes and are suited to many applications including: - property planning - local government planning - flood risk assessment and management - habitat identification and mapping - analyses of potential biodiversity refugia - analyses of landscape change and resilience

Temporal coverage

From 1988-01-01 To 2012-01-01


  • Date modified


Citation information

How to cite this collection:

Office of Environment and Heritage (2011-2019), New South Wales (2016): Water count and water prevalence - NSW. Version 1.0.0. Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN). Dataset.

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Rights and Licensing

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence

These data can be freely downloaded and used subject to the CC BY licence. Attribution and citation is required. Please send citations of publications arising from work that use these data to .

Known Issues - Map accuracy - the water mask classified raining data with 1.4% misclassification. - Artificial striping in Landsat 7 imagery, associated with the edges of flight paths. - Ghosting - where a single date of poorly rectified Landsat images causes an offset in the water mask by some distance to the rest of the time series. This is particularly apparent for permanent water bodies such as wide river channels and large dams.

TERN services are provided on an “as-is” and “as available” basis. Users use any TERN services at their discretion and risk. They will be solely responsible for any damage or loss whatsoever that results from such use including use of any data obtained through TERN and any analysis performed using the TERN infrastructure. Web links to and from external, third party websites should not be construed as implying any relationships with and/or endorsement of the external site or its content by TERN.