Selection of variables in the definition of a water quality index for the Brazilian Federal District

  • Ana Luiza Litz Passos Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brasília, DF, Brasil Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Ambientais (UnB/FUP).
  • Daphne Heloisa de Freitas Muniz Embrapa Cerrados, Planaltina, DF, Brasil Laboratório de Química Analítica de Água.
  • Leandro Pin Rangel Centro Universitário de Brasília (UniCEUB), Brasília, DF, Brasil Faculdade de Ciências da Educação e Saúde (FACES).
  • Eduardo Cyrino Oliveira-Filho Embrapa Cerrados, Planaltina, DF, Brasil Centro de Pesquisa Agropecuária dos Cerrados.
Keywords: Brazilian Federal District, regional variables, surface water, WQI.


Water Quality Indices (WQIs) are based on a small number of variables that establish categories for water quality. This method presents some problems with the evaluations, since WQIs do not consider the multiple uses of the water or differences in regional characteristics. The present study proposes a regional and more appropriate variable group for the definition of a Water Quality Index for the Brazilian Federal District, based on water quality monitoring of surface waters in the region. The monitoring was carried out monthly between August 2016 and July 2017, at three points on the Jardim River, Sobradinho Stream and Sarandi Stream, where 21 variables were evaluated. Among physical-chemical and microbiological analyses, the regional characteristics of these water bodies were noted, as well as their differences, and the main anthropogenic interferences that generate changes in water quality. In the urban area, the disposal of treated sewage from the wastewater treatment plant of Sobradinho was highlighted as the main anthropic interference, and agricultural activities stood out in the rural region of the study area. The impacts in the urbanized area were of greater weight. Thus, based on the results of the Principal Component Analysis (PCA), two groups of variables were selected, one representative of urban areas and the other of rural areas, to compose two probable water quality indices (WQIs) for the Federal District.