Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Surface Water

Automated Surface Water Quality Monitoring Program

The Nova Scotia Automated Surface Water Quality Monitoring Network was established in 1999 to assess water quality in surface waters across the province.  The results are used to help manage water resources, determine baseline water quality in lakes and streams throughout the province, evaluate the impact of human activities on surface water, and assess long term trends in water quality.

In addition to contributing to provincial water resource management activities, this program supports both the Canadian Heritage River Program and the national Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators (CESI) reporting initiative.

Automated water quality probes or sondes are co-located with existing Hydrometric (stream flow gauging) sites (figure 1) to provide near real time data. Water samples are also collected by departmental staff at varying lake and stream locations and submitted to a laboratory for analyses.

Automated equipment records, on an hourly frequency, 5 water quality parameters: pH, specific conductance, turbidity, dissolved oxygen and temperature. Grab samples are collected on a frequency of every 4 to 6 weeks at equipment maintenance visits during the ice-free season. Grab sample parameters monitored include nutrients, chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, temperature, transparency, pH, conductivity, alkalinity, colour, major ions, and selected metals.

Water uses being protected at these stations include habitat for aquatic life, recreation and aesthetics, and source waters for drinking water supply.

Partners in this program include Environment Canada, and our departmental Protected Areas Branch.

The network currently consists of 6 stations with the most recent station being added during the Fall of 2008. Both water quality and stream levels are monitored at all stations. The results of the data collected up to 2008 are reported in the latest version of the network report, Nova Scotia Environment’s Automated Surface Water Quality Monitoring Network Data Analysis and Interpretation ReportPDF Download Link (PDF:11.4mb). Long term trends in water quality will be statistically evaluated in both relatively pristine watersheds as well as more impacted sites, as sufficient data becomes available.

A summary of the data collected at 4 stations from 2002 to 2005 was published in 2006, Nova Scotia Automated Surface Water Quality Monitoring NetworkPDF Download Link (PDF:3.1mb).

To view data for individual stations, click on Figure 1 below, or view all the results.

Nova Scotia Automated Surface Water Quality Monitoring Network