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 Grand River Conservation Authority conducts water quality sampling for bacterial (E.coli) counts every other week during the warmer months, typically beginning in June, and through July and August. The sampling is conducted at nine conservation area beaches in eight Grand River Parks throughout the watershed.
While this 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. The table below will be updated bi-weekly, showing the most recent sampling data available.
|Park||Date Water Sample Collected||E. Coli Counts (Geometric Mean)|
|Guelph Lake - main beach||NA||NA|
|Guelph Lake - pit||NA||NA|
(NA) Not Available.
A beach closure (rarely issued) would prohibit swimming due to various reasons, for example, a chemical or sewage spill.