Overview

Alberta Environment and Parks, and its partners, collect surface water quality samples in rivers, lakes and other water bodies across the province. Most of the physical and chemical data from the monitoring program are stored in Water Data System (WDS), a module of the Environmental Management System (EMS). The EMS supplies data to the Environmental Data Warehouse, the source of online surface water quality data. Other datasets, such as biological data, are being added to WDS as resources allow.

Disclaimer

The data have gone through a verification/validation process; however, occasional errors or anomalies may occur. Users should be aware of changes and improvements to field sampling and analytical laboratory methods (for example, improved method detection limits) when comparing water quality samples collected over time.

What you get

The Guide to Surface Water Quality Data and Online Tools (PDF, 945 KB) provides:

  • information about the data and codes
  • tips on how to use the search tools
  • table of water quality variable names and units

Search tools

Use the following search tools to view or download data for commonly requested water quality variables:

Station Inventory

The Station Inventory is a summary of sample locations and associated metadata, including:

  • latitude and longitude
  • sample matrix (for example, water, sediment)
  • sample count (approximate number of samples) by decade
  • water quality variable categories (for example, routine ions, nutrients, metals, pesticides, trace organics)

View the Station Inventory.

The Station Inventory is also available on the Water Quality Data Portal, a map-based tool used to view and search for surface water quality monitoring stations in Alberta.

Station information obtained from the portal can inform data requests or support the download of commonly requested water quality variables using the online tools below.

Long Term River Station Data

View or download commonly requested water quality data for monthly samples collected at long term monitoring stations.

View the Long Term River Station Data.

Lake/Reservoir Data

Lake data (including reservoirs) are available in 2 forms:

  • raw data
  • summary format (table or graph)

Lake Water Quality Data

View or download data for commonly requested water quality variables:

Lake Condition

Lake condition is often based on the level (or concentration) of 2 key trophic indicators:

  • total phosphorus (a key nutrient)
  • chlorophyll-a (a general measure of algal biomass)

These measurements, which can be representative of biological productivity, are used to group Alberta lakes into a range of trophic categories:

  • oligotrophic (low productivity)
  • mesotrophic (moderate productivity)
  • eutrophic (high productivity)
  • hyper-eutrophic (very high productivity)

Trophic Condition of Alberta Lakes

Summary of lake condition by trophic category.

Trophic Data: Annual Mean Concentrations

Graph of annual trophic data for an individual lake.

Contact

Connect with Alberta Environment and Parks about data set questions:

Hours: 8:15 to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Email: swq.requests@gov.ab.ca