Proposal of a Water-Quality Index for High Andean Basins: Application to the Chumbao River, Andahuaylas, Peru

David Choque-Quispe, Sandro Froehner, Henry Palomino-Rincón, Diego E. Peralta-Guevara, Gloria I. Barboza-Palomino, Aydeé Kari-Ferro, Lourdes Magaly Zamalloa-Puma, Antonieta Mojo-Quisani, Edward E. Barboza-Palomino, Miluska M. Zamalloa-Puma, Edgar L. Martínez-Huamán, Miriam Calla-Florez, Edgar G. Aronés-Medina, Aydeé M. Solano-Reynoso, Yudith Choque-Quispe

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10 Scopus citations


The water from the high Andean rivers is peculiar due to its composition and the geomorphol-ogy of its sources, and naturally or anthropogenically contamination is not discarded along its course. This water is used for agriculture and human consumption, therefore knowing its quality is important. This research aimed to proposing and formulate a water-quality index for high Andean basins through the Delphi method, and its application in the Chumbao River located in Andahuaylas-Peru. Forty-three water-quality parameters were evaluated through the Delphi method, and the water-quality index (WQIHA) was formulated with a weighted average of the weights of the selected parameters, it was compared with the WQI Dinius. For this purpose, ten sampling points were considered along the Chumbao River located between 4274 and 2572 m of altitude and the WQIHA was applied. In addition, field and laboratory analyses were carried out in 2018, 2019, and 2021, in dry and rainy seasons. Twenty parameters were grouped in the physicochemical sub-index (SIPC), heavy metals sub-index (SIHM), and organic matter sub-index (SIOM). Each group contributed with weights of 0.30, 0.30, and 0.40, respectively, for the WQIHA formulation. The SIPC and SIOM showed that the areas near the head of the basin presented excellent and good quality, while the urbanized areas were qualified as marginal to poor; SIHM reported good quality in all points and seasons. Regarding the WQIHA, the index shows good quality in the zones above 3184 m of altitude, contrasting with poor quality downstream, decreasing notably in both seasons, suggesting continuous degradation of the water body.

Original languageEnglish
Article number654
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022


  • Chumbao River
  • Delphi method
  • Heavy metals sub-index
  • High Andean water-quality index
  • Organic matter sub-index
  • Physicochemical sub-index


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