The presence of natural organic matter (NOM) strongly impacts drinking water treatment, water quality, and water behavior during distribution. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations were determined daily over a 22 month period in river water before and after conventional drinking water treatment using an on-line total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer. Quantitative and qualitative variations in organic matter were related to precipitation and runoff, seasons and operating conditions. Following a rainfall event, DOC levels could increase by 3.5 fold over baseflow concentrations, while color, UV absorbance values and turbidity increased by a factor of 8, 12 and 300, respectively. Treated water DOC levels were closely related to the source water quality, with an average organic matter removal of 42% after treatment.