This research attempted to identify characteristic coordinates responsible for significant flux decline in low pressure membrane filtration, and to explain relationships among those coordinates with a modeling approach. A Pearson's correlation matrix supported that significant flux decline over a short time frame (low delivered DOC) is highly correlated with high molecular weight (MW) components of NOM. Simulations of flux decline by model equations were close to the experimental results revealing that low pressure membrane fouling is dominantly affected by NOM characteristics and membrane properties. One source water, exhibiting the highest flux decline, showed mostly cake formation as a fouling mechanism. The results indicate that significant flux decline is caused by high MW components leading to formation of a cake layer. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that high MW polysaccharides are the most important NOM component affecting significant membrane fouling.