Water Quality Basics
Water quality is a description of the condition of water, similar to how we refer to our health to describe the condition of the human body. Water quality can refer to the chemical, physical and biological condition of water. It also includes evaluating whether water is safe to be used for a specific purpose like drinking, recreation or to support wildlife.
You can’t tell much about the quality of water simply by looking at it. In fact, most pollutants are invisible to our eyes. Because pollutants are not always visible and water is a large network of branching rivers, springs, creeks, swamps, estuaries, wetlands, lakes, bays, etc., water quality can be difficult to measure. Each water body can also contain very different levels of pollution.
Since water quality can change over time, dedicated scientists and environmental experts, like those at the Southwest Florida Water Management District, regularly collect and evaluate water samples in our region.
Why is Water Quality Monitoring Important?
Every living thing on earth needs water to survive. Human bodies are made up of more than 60 percent water! We use clean water to drink, grow crops for food, operate factories, and for swimming, surfing, fishing and sailing. Water is vitally important to every aspect of our lives. The natural environment also depends on clean water to support habitats and ecosystems that are home to numerous plants and animals.
Monitoring the quality of surface water and groundwater helps to protect these important resources from pollution. Farmers can use the information to help better manage their land and crops. Our local, state and national governments use monitoring information to help control pollution levels. And we can use this information to understand exactly how we impact our water supply and to help us understand the important role we all play in water conservation.
Use the links below to learn more about water quality monitoring in Florida, common pollutants and how water quality is measured.