More objective and consistent methods are needed to assess water quality for large areas. A spatial model, one that capitalizes on the topologic relationships among spatial entities, to aggregate pollution sources from upstream drainage areas is described that can be implemented on land surfaces having heterogeneous water-pollution effects. An infrastructure of stream networks and drainage basins, derived from 1:250,000-scale digital-elevation models, define the hydrologic system in this spatial model. The spatial relationships between point- and nonpoint pollution sources and measurement locations are referenced to the hydrologic infrastructure with the aid of a geographic information system. A maximum-branching algorithm has been developed to simulate the effects of distance from a pollutant source to an arbitrary downstream location, a function traditionally employed in deterministic water quality models. ?? 1992.