CCME Water Quality Index

The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment Water Quality Index (CCME WQI) was developed as an efficient way to summarise complex data. Originally used for salmon aquaculture in Canada, various organisations and researchers have adapted the approach for other countries and species throughout the World. The index is based on a formula developed by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks and modified by Alberta Environment and produces a value between 0 (poor water quality) to 100 (excellent water quality). Parameters used to calculate the WQI are water quality measurements (e.g. dissolved oxygen, total phosphorus) which are then compared to thresholds. The criteria used within the WQI may vary between location depending on the data available. The index can be calculated by hand, although a spreadsheet is more efficient. For aquaculture it is a useful tool for classifying freshwater lakes.

Developed by Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) and adapted into this spreadsheet tool for trout and tilapia by University of Stirling.


Suggested users: Aquaculture producers, regulators

Format: Spreadsheet model

Cost: Free to use

Data requirements: Water quality data

Time requirements: If data are available, it requires 1-2 hours for data entry and calculation. Data collection can be time consuming as it requires collection of multiple water quality parameters at different times of the year.

Required resources: MS Excel

Prior knowledge: Some understanding of the environment and water quality. There is guidance document to help use the tool.