Municipal Affairs and Environment

Agri-food Water Quality Index

A water quality index is a means to summarize large amounts of water quality data into simple terms (e.g. good or fair) for reporting to management and the public in a consistent manner. Similar to the UV index and air quality index, it evaluates and ranks the quality of water bodies for various beneficial uses of water, such as habitat for aquatic life, agricultural irrigation and livestock water, recreation and aesthetics, and drinking water supplies.

The Agri-food Water Quality Index (AFWQI) calculator can be used to determine how good a water supply is for agricultural purposes such as irrigation and livestock watering. The water quality is calculated based on recommended guidelines from CCME (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment), or the user can input their own set of guidelines. The calculator summarizes complex water quality data into an easy to understand ranking of quality and suitability for the particular use. This tool can be used to screen the suitability of groundwater for agricultural operations.

Agri-food Water Quality Index 1.0 Calculator


The CCME developed the original Canadian Water Quality Index 1.0 calculator. The Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment’s Water Resources Management Division developed the Agri-food Water Quality Index 1.0 calculator, modifying its design to compute indices for agricultural irrigation and livestock water simultaneously for comparison purposes.

This particular calculator allows the user to utilize the CCME guidelines for irrigation and livestock water, or input a user-defined set of guidelines. This is a user-friendly Excel 2002-based model programmed using Visual Basic for Applications. This model is available for download as an Excel 2002 file with documentation and four test datasets below.

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