Open Data

River Water Quality Index, Alberta


This Alberta Official Statistic describes how the River Water Quality Index (RWQI) for Alberta provides a general assessment of water quality at 28 Long-Term River Network (LTRN) sites on the province’s major river systems. In most cases, the sites represent conditions upstream and downstream of areas of significant human activity. The RWQI has been reported as a performance measure in the Ministry of Environment and Parks "Annual Report" since 1996.


June 26, 2015

AOS Alberta Official Statistics Official Statistic River Water Quality

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Environment and Parks

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Usage Considerations

Data used in the calculation of the Alberta River Water Quality Index are collected once a month over a twelve month period. As such, they represent a relatively limited ‘snapshot’ of water quality in a given river, at specific points in space and time. They are also limited to a relatively small number of water quality variables (47) and are not necessarily a comprehensive representation of overall water quality. Lastly, the Index is used as a fairly basic tool to communicate general water quality to a broad audience. It does not reflect other key aspects of comprehensive reporting, including such things as sediment quality, aquatic ecosystem health, and so forth. It does not, and cannot, replace a systematic and rigorous scientific assessment of the data.

Changes to Data Collection Stations

Due to poor site access, Athabasca River at Old Fort, winter sampling (December to March) is at a different station called "Athabasca River D/S Devil’s Elbow at Winter Road Crossing", station number AB07DD0105 In 2010-2011 Battle River at North End of Driedmeat Lake was moved to "Battle River At Hwy 21 Bridge", station number AB05FA0320. In 2011-12, the station was moved back to Driedmeat Lake, station number AB05FA0340. In 2009-2010 “North Saskatchewan River U/S Rocky Mountain House", station number AB05DC0051 was changed to North Saskatchewan River U/S Clearwater River, station number AB05DC0050. Note that the River Water Quality Index evaluates water quality only and does not describe sediment quality, aquatic biota, or habitat conditions in Alberta rivers. Aquatic biota can be influenced by a number of factors that are not accounted for in this index. For this reason, the RWQI is not a comprehensive indicator of overall aquatic ecosystem health.


Contact Name

Office of Statistics and Information

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(780) 427-2071