Vital to our daily lives is water. Water is needed by every living organism in this earth. Monitoring the quality of surface water will help protect our waterways from pollution and our local and national governments use monitoring information to help control pollution levels (Southwest Florida Water Management District, n.d.). Human and environmental health is influenced by water quality and humans have important roles in water conservation but understanding precisely how we impact our water supply can be done through using the information from water monitoring.
Many microorganisms are found naturally in fresh and saltwater. These include bacteria, cyanobacteria, protozoa, algae, and tiny animals such as rotifers. These can be important in the food chain that forms the basis of life in the water. However, the presence of other disease causing microbes in water is unhealthy an even life threatening for humans. For example, bacteria that live in the intestinal tracts of humans and other warm blooded animals, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Shigella, and Vibrio, can contaminate water if feces enters the water. Contamination of drinking water with a type of Escherichia coli known as O157:H7 can be fatal.