A flow cytometric method for the routine analysis of environmental water samples for the presence of Cryptosporidium oocysts has been developed. It uses a Coulter Epics Elite flow cytometer to examine water samples and to separate oocysts from contaminating debris by cell sorting. The sorted particles are then rapidly screened by microscopy. The method has been evaluated and compared with direct epifluorescence microscopy on 325 river, reservoir and drinking water samples. The technique was found to be more sensitive, faster and easier to perform than conventional epifluorescent microscopy for the routine examination of water samples for Cryptosporidium.