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Title: Ecosystem-specific water quality indices
Authors: Rangeti, Innocent 
Dzwairo, Bloodless 
Barratt, Graham James 
Otieno, Fredrick Alfred O. 
Keywords: Aggregation;Fitness-for-use;Pollution;Water qulity Index;Weight Factor
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: NISC (Pty) Ltd and Taylor & Francis
Source: Rangeti, I. et al. 2015. Ecosystem-specific water quality indices. African Journal of Aquatic Science. DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2015.1054341
Journal: African journal of aquatic science 
The water quality index (WQI) has emerged as a central tool for analysing and reporting quality trends since 1965. It provides a better overview of water quality variability in a catchment than conventional monitoring programmes that use individual variables. Since water quality is not static, due to point and non-point pollution sources, water managers require tools that are easily adaptable to changing trends. For aquatic environments, different WQIs have been developed to classify specific areas and to determine the fitness of various water resources for specific uses such as drinking. The development of indices poses the challenge of standardising methods for selecting input variables, data transformation and aggregation. Inappropriate input variables may lead to a wrong evaluation of the overall water quality status, possibly resulting in the use of polluted water. This paper reviews methods and aspects to consider when developing ecosystem-specific WQIs – their strengths, limitations and the suitability of the methodologies. These could be applied when developing a water quality index for the uMngeni Basin, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where ecosystem-specific modelling is being done to enhance basin management.
ISSN: 1608-5914
DOI: 10.2989/16085914.2015.1054341
Appears in Collections:Research Publications (Water and Wastewater Technology)

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