Drinking Water Purity
The safety of the waters of Georgian Bay for drinking and swimming is of vital concern to everyone enjoying the Bay. Although our water appears pristine, that cannot be taken as a guarantee of their potability (i.e. safe to drink). The GBA urges all cottagers, boaters and campers to take measures to ensure their water is safe to consume. All surface water (water taken from a river, a stream or a lake rather than from a deep well) in Ontario should be treated to remove bacteria, viruses and parasites. It should not be necessary to haul (bottled) water from another location.
This can be done with heat (at least 68-degrees Celcius), by reverse osmosis or very fine filtration (1 micron), chemical disinfection (usually chlorine), ozone, ultraviolet light. People should consult a water purification expert and choose the best solution for their cottage, boat or camping trip. For more information see the Ministry of Health and Long-term care site:
As well, recreational waters should be safe and enjoyable. Algael blooms or blue-green algae can contain cyanobacteria which can cause harm to human and animal health. If there is an algae bloom do not drink, swim in it or allow pets in the water. An article about the Sturgeon Bay experience with algeal blooms is here: http://www.georgianbayforever.org/images/Algal_Blooms_web_article.pdf. Be vigilant in reducing nutrients from entering the water. Swimmers itch can be troublesome in some areas and is caused from parasites in birds and snails which incidentally “get under our skin”. Rubbing down with a towel after swimming can reduce this itch. Invasive weeds (Eurasian mill foil for example) can make waters dark, murky and choke out native plants. Avoid breaking the plant up (by propellers) as it propagates just with a tiny piece!
Long-Term Health of the Water Ecosystem
Over the years, GBA has worked with both Georgian Bay Township and the Township of the Archipelago to set up and maintain their on-going studies of the health of the waters of Georgian Bay. We continue to strongly endorse the continuance of these studies and monitor the outcomes closely.
Water quality is linked to water levels
Following the dramatic water loss that began in 1999, we began to see the impacts of decreased water exchange and elevated phosphorous in enclosed bays along the coast. One of the bays has endured four years of health advisories due to toxic blue green algal blooms. Once that happens the problem becomes very difficult to solve, since the de-oxygenated waters result in more phosphorus being released from the decomposing sediments.
May 13, 2015 - The GBA is conducting a survey to find out what sort of water quality testing is conducted in the local cottage areas. We will be asking one person from each cottage association to forward the information to us. In return, the GBA will summarize the findings and share the ideas and practices about water quality testing in Georgian Bay. Stay tuned for more info.
May 12, 2015 - Update to the GBA board on Water Related Activities - Click Here