ENVIRONMENT YUKON






 

Lakes and Rivers

Water quality index ratings

 

Significance

 

The Water Quality Index, developed by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, summarizes complex water quality data using a scale from 0 to 100. Scores are categorized as:

 

Excellent (95-100) Aquatic life is not threatened or impaired. Measurements never or very rarely exceed water quality guidelines.
Good (80-94) Aquatic life is protected with only a minor degree of threat or impairment. Measurements rarely exceed water quality guidelines and, usually, by a narrow margin
Fair (65-79) Aquatic life is protected, but at times may be threatened or impaired. Measurements sometimes exceed water quality guidelines and, possibly, by a wide margin.
Marginal (45-64) Aquatic life frequently may be threatened or impaired. Measurements often exceed water quality guidelines by a considerable margin.
Poor
(0-44)
Aquatic life is threatened, impaired or even lost. Measurements usually exceed water quality guidelines by a considerable margin.

 

The Water Quality Index provides the public with information about the status of water quality in Canada and identifies emerging trends. It condenses data about the quality of a water body to a number scale cooresponding with a straightforward rating.

The Water Quality Index also indicates the suitability of streams to support aquatic life. It measures the frequency and extent to which selected parameters exceed water quality objectives at individual monitoring sites (Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, 2001).

 

Water quality sampling on the Klondike River.

 

 

What is happening?

 

The Government of Yukon currently tracks three-year rolling average Water Quality Index scores for seven monitoring stations. The averages provide additional confidence in ratings.

 

The following table shows the recorded averages for monitoring stations using the Water Quality Index colour scale above.

 

Table 1: Three-year rolling average Water Quality Index scores for Yukon monitoring stations
Excellent (95-100) Good (80-94) Fair (65-79) Marginal (45-64) Poor
(0-44)
Location 2003-2005 2004-2006 2005-2007 2006-2008 2007-2009 2008-2010 2009-2011 2010-2012
Dezadeash River at Haines Junction 84.2 84.2 89.5 N/A 89.5 N/A 89.5 87.1
Klondike River above Bonanza Creek N/A N/A 66.8 66.6 67.4 74.2 74.2 74.2
Liard River at Upper Crossing 93.6 93.6 93.6 87.2 93.6 87.2 87.1 80.6
South McQuesten River below Flat Creek N/A N/A 64.4 64.3 64.0 70 69.5 70.1
Rose Creek above Anvil Creek 65.3 80.7
Yukon River at Marsh Lake Dam N/A N/A 100 N/A 100 N/A 100 100
Yukon River above Takhini River N/A N/A 100 100 100 93.6 93.6 93.6

 

  • Average Water Quality Index ratings for the Dezadeash, Liard, Klondike, South McQuesten, and Yukon rivers monitoring stations remained stable during the period 2010 to 2012. Average ratings remained in the Fair to Excellent range in 2010 to 2012.
  • The average Water Quality Index rating for the Rose Creek monitoring station, downstream of the historic Faro Mine complex, improved from Fair in 2009 to 2011 to Good in 2010 to 2012. This is due primarily to instances in 2009 in which metal concentrations exceeded water quality objectives. These exceedances are not captured in the most recent rolling average.

 

Taking action

 

  • As guided by the Yukon Water Strategy and Action Plan, additional long-term monitoring networks have been added to the existing list of stations. This includes the Porcupine River at Old Crow, Haggart Creek north of Mayo, and the Eagle and Ogilvie rivers along the Dempster highway. Learn more about implementation of the Yukon Water Strategy and Action Plan.
Daglish Creek.

 

Data quality

Further information

  • Visit www.yukonwater.ca to find information about Yukon's water resources and how our water is used, managed and monitored.

 

References

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 2014. Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines [cited 2015 June 23]. Available from http://ceqg-rcqe.ccme.ca/en/index.html

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 2001. Canadian water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life: CCME Water Quality Index 1.0, Technical Report. In: Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines. 1999, updated 2002. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.