The problem of water pollution is a growing concern in China. About 183 typical water pollution incidents took place between 2001 and 2014 in China and were analyzed in this study. The results indicate that chemical pollution, heavy metal pollution, and algal blooms were the main types of contamination, accounting for 36%, 20%, and 9%, respectively, of the total pollution. Illegal discharges, pollution water leakage, and leakage during transport were the main sources of chemical pollution, accounting for 63%, 14%, and 12%, respectively. Illegal industrial discharges, leakage incidents, industrial production, and engineering construction pollution were the main contributors to heavy metal pollution, and accounted for 81%, 11%, 5%, and 3%, respectively. Industries should promote their environmental responsibility. It is also essential for government and industry to work together to strengthen supervision of industrial discharges and strictly control pollution sources. Alternative emergency response mechanisms for different pollution sources were analyzed allowing guidance to reduce pollution and providing a theoretical basis to establish and improve water pollution management.