As one of the most complex freshwater ecosystems in the world and a popular tourism spot, the water quality of Georgian Bay is extremely important. The quality of drinking and recreational water in Georgian Bay is threatened by:

  • Microbial contaminants such as bacteria, parasites and viruses
  • Sewage and grey water
  • Toxic chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers and other agricultural run-off
  • Industrial effluents

Protecting water quality is a team effort between the province, Source Protection Authorities, municipalities and individuals.

Drinking water management

The District of Muskoka's Water Quality Management System Operational Plan guides the management of Muskoka's water treatment and distribution systems. View past water and wastewater compliance reports on the District's website. You can arrange a tour at any of the water and wastewater treatment plants by contacting the Engineering and Public Works Department at 705-645-6764.

Municipal Drinking Water Systems

To ensure safe drinking water, the District's drinking water system operates under a Quality Management System as legislated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002, and regulated by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Water quality is tested regularly, as required, and the results of this testing is reported annually.

The Severn Sound Environmental Association provides services as a Risk Management Official and Risk Management Inspector under the Clean Water Act, 2006 Part IV delegation agreements for the Townships of Georgian Bay. More information regarding Source Water Protection can be found here.

Private well

To be sure your drinking water is safe you should test your well water at least three times per year. Pick up free water sample bottles at the Township of Georgian Bay Municipal Office (99 Lone Pine Rd, Port Severn) and drop off at any Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit location (except Orillia and 80 Bradford Street in Barrie). Public health inspectors can help interpret your results and provide guidance on any corrective action needed.



Community Resources

 Citizen Scientist

Citizen science involves community members as volu​nte​er scientists, drawing on local knowledge and passion for important places. It helps increase our “eyes on the ground,” providing observations over a wider area, and allows for participation in hands-on sampling and data collection.


Join the Citizen Scientist Program

SSEA Resource Links


 Healthy Shorelines
 Southern Georgian Bay Shoreline GuideFOCAMuskoka Watershed Council

Reports and Studies

In an effort to keep the waters of Georgian Bay safe and clean, ongoing water quality testing is necessary. Many of the environmental and sustainability organizations that operate in Muskoka collect samples and share the data with community members. Find reports with our partners at:

 Township of Georgian Bay - Inland Water Quality Program Report
 District of Muskoka - Lake System Health Water Quality Monitoring Program
 Severn Sound Environmental Association - Water Quality Monitoring


 Georgian Bay Biosphere - State of the Bay Technical Reports
Other Resources

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