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Changes in Water Quality

Water quality changes can be the result of naturally occurring events or as a result of human activity.  When water vapour in the air condenses to form rain, it may pick up tiny air-borne impurities that become part of the rain drop.  As rainwater seeps through rocks or soil, it may dissolve minerals or other water soluble substances that give the water some of its chemical characteristics.  Flowing water picks up many objects and carries sediments.  Water quality also changes with the seasons as temperature, volume of flow, turbidity and biological activity respond to the seasonal differences.

Apart from the natural changes, Humans are responsible for a great many changes to the quality of water.  These changes can be a result of industrial, agricultural, municipal or recreational activities.

Reprinted from Focus On Water Quality  (1993) with permission of Alberta Environment.

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