The River Drava is one of the major, inexhaustible water sources not only for Croatia, but also for the other European countries it flows through. This study is based on the observations of 15 water variables at three sampling stations in the lower River Drava over a 24 year period. Although the obtained results revealed an improvement of most of the parameters, the values of some of them (i.e. NH4-N, NO3-N, BOD5, total coliform and heterotrophic bacteria) are still above the approved limits for water Class II. The results of principal component analysis (PCA) confirmed an existence of three clearly separated zones. The first zone corresponds to a rural upstream part of River Drava, which is characterised with low level pollution. The influences of untreated domestic waters become more noticeable in the second more densely populated suburban zone (II) located upstream of the city of Osijek. According to the results of the PCA, untreated wastewaters from Osijek are becoming contributing factors to the high pollution level of the river in the third (III) suburban zone. This study shows the usefulness of the PCA method for analysis and interpretation of complex data sets as well as for determination of pollution sources.