While simple automatic systems have been used to monitor some lakes since the 1970s, the key to wider use was the development of improved control and communication systems in the 1990s. Some of the most sophisticated systems were those funded by a series of EU projects and used later in two largescale EU projects on the impact of climate change on lakes, the last of which ended in 2005 (CLIME: Climate and Lake Impacts in Europe, EU FP 5).  Many of these systems are still operating, have been upgraded over time, and are still being used to support national projects on lake and reservoir dynamics.

In 2005, number of the original European researchers became involved in a newly established international grassroots network of lake scientists, information technology experts, and engineers: GLEON ( They were joined by other Europeans who had also deployed monitoring stations in lakes and reservoirs. GLEON has over 350 members and has led to valuable scientific collaborations for those involved. 

The aim of the NETLAKE COST Action (ES1201) is to build a network of sites and individuals that will support the use of sensor-based systems in lakes and reservoirs across Europe and promote the use of these systems to address current and future water quality issues.  The Action started in October 2013 and ended in October 2016. It included 25 COST countries:  Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, FYR Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom.

Working groups

  • WG 1: Data acquisition and management.
  • WG 2: Developing a toolbox of data analysis and modelling tools.
  • WG 3: Developing a citizen science initiative.
  • WG 4: Informing policy and management using lake sensor data.
  • WG 5: Dissemination of NETLAKE outputs.

Full details on the membership of the NETLAKE Management Committee (MC) are available on the COST website here