The Agricultural Water Quality Index (AWQI) is an assessment tool designed for use in agroecosystems. Most existing environmental indices and assessment tools focus on the stream channel and/or riparian zone (the area between the channel and active land use). In contrast, the AWQI places an emphasis on land use and soil types that play a significant role in hydrologic cycles and water quality characteristics within the watershed.
The AWQI is designed to be used by agricultural technicians with limited experience in aquatic ecology; however, it does assume a reasonable background in soil characteristics. This index is intended for use during the active growing season (approximately mid-May through September). The purpose of the index is two-fold; to describe the level of vulnerability or potential environmental impact a particular farming operation may have to the stream environment, and to provide direction in developing farm management strategies that work to stabilize or improve water quality.
The following are condensed instructions that are designed to assist the farmer, field technician, or agricultural consultant that may be performing the assessment. A more technical version of the AWQI is available to individuals seeking additional background information or more detail involving individual metrics within the index.
Ecosystem Health, Water Quality -- Measurement
Cooper, Jeffrey; Rediske, Richard; Northup, Melvin; Thogerson, Mark; and Van Denend, Jonathan, "Agricultural Water Quality Index Field Handout" (1998). Scientific Technical Reports. Paper 6.