Water Quality

Water quality is a term used to describe the condition of a body of water relative to how well it serves human and ecological needs.

For example, if a lake is contaminated by excess nutrients which have caused an algal bloom, harming the ecosystem and preventing it from use for recreation, it is considered to have poor water quality.

Water quality is impacted by a variety of factors, including run off of chemicals from roads, manufacturing and agriculture, the temperature of water, the amount of rain fall in the area, and the amount of sediment–or small, lose particles, in the water.

Scientists monitor water quality in streams by measuring specific metrics, such as dissolved oxygen (or the amount of oxygen in the water), temperature, flow, and conductivity (or how well it conducts electricity), among other metrics.

Researchers at the University of Georgia study everything from how these changing factors impact the plants and animals that live within rivers and lakes, to how changing water quality might affect our drinking water and favorite places to swim.

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