Water quality is the top concern on our lakes

For at least a generation, cottagers, commercial operators and full time lake residents have been expressing concern about the water quality in our lakes.

Water quality was the number one issue identified through the Lake Planning process 2005-2008, and many of those surveyed and involved in workshops voiced the opinion that the lakes may be at a “tipping point” – that water quality may quickly deteriorate if the contributing causes are not addressed.

Everyone values clean lake water – it is essential to enjoyment of all forms of recreation in, on and around the lakes, and it’s equally important to the health and future of wildlife populations, including fish. People’s main concerns about surface water quality are bacteria pollution (especially E.coli) and over-nutrification of algae and aquatic weeds, largely due to high levels of phosphorus. Simply put, phosphorus “fertilizes” the algae and aquatic weeds.

Research by the Kawartha Lake Stewards Association (KLSA) has identified four main causes of phosphorus, bacteria and other pollutants in our lakes:

  • upstream municipal sewage runoff, especially from shorelines and areas that are no longer in their natural state
  • agricultural and residential runoff (animal waste, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides)
  • faulty septic systems and holding tanks.

The Environment Council focuses its efforts to protect water quality on the immediate Clear, Ston(e)y and White Lake watershed – by evaluating and protecting important wetlands that filter pollutants, working to protect and restore natural shorelines to reduce runoff and promoting good septic system practices to prevent pollution.