A double-beam atomic absorption spectrographic analysis system using a dc arc multielement source was tested for water analysis. The report briefly describes these tests. The optical system design brings analytical and reference beams together to illuminate the upper and lower portions of the spectrograph slit. However, a dc arc will not serve as a multielement source for the intended purposes because of excessive thermal broadening of emission lines. A direct excitation dc arc method can be used for the rapid determination of some cations in water. Measurements for Mg, Fe, Ni, Al, Cu, and Si are comparable to known detection levels. This analytical method is very fast and cheap and could well be applied in reconaissance studies. In operation, spectrographically pure electrodes are simply soaked in water, allowed to dry, and arced at 6 amps for 40 secs.