Abstract This article aims at providing a simple way for water quality monitoring in a set of reservoirs using an earth observation-based approach and the assessment of the use of this technique for a monitoring network in order to meet the requirements and objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) by the Member States of the European Union. The study carried out was preformed in 42 reservoirs of the Ebro River Basin, in the northeast of Spain. The proposed methodology is based on the development of an algorithm for the estimation of water quality by means of LANDSAT TM band reflectance. Some band ratios were used in the model as well. Trophic State Index (TSI), calculated by means of Secchi Disc Transparency data, was estimated using a forward stepwise multiple regression analysis and the TM2 band and TM1/TM2 ratio. The final results showed a large variability in water quality across reservoirs. Moreover, substantial spatial heterogeneity was also observed in the water bodies. These results demonstrate the likelihood of developing a monitoring network based on remote sensing techniques for the implementation of the WFD.