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Another factor influencing water quality is the runoff from urban areas. It will collect debris littering the streets and take it to the receiving stream or water body. Urban runoff worsens the water quality in rivers and lakes by increasing the concentrations of such substances as nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen), sediments, animal wastes (fecal coliform and pathogens), petroleum products, and road salts. Industrial, farming, mining, and forestry activities also significantly affect the quality of rivers, lakes, and groundwater. For example, farming can increase the concentration of nutrients, pesticides, and suspended sediments. Industrial activities can increase concentrations of metals and toxic chemicals, add suspended sediment, increase temperature, and lower dissolved oxygen in the water. Each of these effects can have a negative impact on the aquatic ecosystem and/or make water unsuitable for established or potential uses.

Good quality drinking water is not easy to produce given all the possible interference from the environment and man-made impediments. Good drinking water is free from disease-causing organisms, harmful chemical substances, and radioactive matter. It tastes good, is aesthetically appealing, and is free from objectionable color or odor. The guidelines for drinking water quality specify limits for substances and describe conditions that affect drinking water quality.

More and more nowadays we are hearing about situations where the quality of water is not good enough for normal uses. The main cause of poor water quality is caused by human impacts so it is up to us to reduce these toxic impacts. Poor water quality is the reason why many of us need filtration systems to be able to feel safe about our drinking water. Municipal water is deemed safe but still has chlorine and traces of heavy metals. Drinking plenty of water is important and for better health it is even more important that the water you are drinking is purified water.

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