Natural bodies of water are great places to play, swim and cool off on a hot sunny day.
However, swimming in these areas is not risk-free. There is always a level of risk when swimming in a natural water body, whether it's on the shores of Lake Erie, jumping off a dock at a cottage or going to a GRCA beach.
Natural water bodies, such as rivers and reservoirs, are exposed to contamination from various sources. The conditions and quality of the water can change quickly due to a number of environmental factors. These factors can influence the level of bacteria in the water to the point where it increases the risk of getting sick.
For health related questions, please contact:
There are a number of ways you can help keep our beaches clean and improve water quality conditions in our swimming areas. These include:
Rainfall can cause fecal material from wildlife or pets to runoff into streams and reservoirs. It can also stir up the water creating cloudy conditions. When there is a significant rainfall (1 to 2 inches or 25 to 50 mm within 24 to 48 hours), it is advised to refrain from swimming for 24 to 48 hours, until clear conditions occur again. The table below will help you understand how much rain has fallen in the past 7 days near GRCA beaches.
|Park||Rain Gauge Location||1- day Total (mm)||2- day Total (mm)|
|Belwood Lake||Shand Dam||-||-|
|Conestogo Lake||Conestogo Dam||-||-|
|Elora Quarry||Shand Dam||-||-|
|Guelph Lake - main beach & pit||Guelph Dam||-||-|
|Laurel Creek||Laurel Creek||-||-|
(-) Not Available. Totals are not shown when any hourly values are missing within the interval.
The GRCA’s program of water quality sampling at its beaches has been suspended for the 2020 season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand River Conservation Authority’s operations have been reduced to ensure the maintenance of its critical programs and services, including flood operations, land and property management, planning and permits and drinking water source protection.
Usually in the months of July and August, the GRCA conducts bi-weekly sampling at nine conservation area beaches throughout the watershed, and makes the data collected available on this web page. While the data is not useful in identifying public health risk when swimming in natural water bodies, it is used to determine long term trends in the water quality at our swimming areas over time. When the water quality sampling program resumes at the GRCA’s beaches, the data will again be made available on this page.
A beach closure (rarely issued) would prohibit swimming due to various reasons, for example, a chemical or sewage spill.