The Water Quality Index (WQI) is a tool to provide consistent procedures for Canadian jurisdictions to report water quality information to both management and the public. The CCME WQI documents are also included in the Canadian Environment Quality Guidelines.
The Water Quality Index Calculator is an MS EXCEL workbook which contains macros. Your network settings may affect your ablity to download the calculator and/or your default macro settings in MS EXCEL may affect your ability to open the calculator file. If you get a “macro error message”, go to the EXCEL menu bar, select Tools, click on Macro, click on Security, and change the setting from high to medium or low. You may have to close and re-open the file. When you open the file, you will find explicit directions under the “Getting Started” button.
For optimal functioning of the Water Quality Index Calculator, it is recommended that you save a copy of the Excel file to your computer, rather than opening and using it online.
Indices are communication and education tools that summarize a number of water, sediment and soil quality variables into a single measure of overall water, sediment or soil quality. Calculations of indices are best performed by scientific specialists with expertise in water, sediment or soil quality. Indices are not intended to replace detailed assessments of ecosystems.
There are three parts to the CCME WQI:
- A technical report describing how the index was developed.
- A user's manual outlining how to use the index.
- A user-friendly program that calculates index values based on information input by the user, updated in 2011.