Lakes, Beaches and Rivers

Manitoba is fortunate to have an abundance of freshwaters including lakes, rivers and wetlands that are essential to support and sustain healthy aquatic ecosystems. We are home to over 100,000 lakes including Lake Winnipeg, Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis and surface water covers approximately 16 percent of the province. Protecting water quality is essential to ensure that water is available for all current and future designated uses and ecosystem needs. Manitoba has strong water protection legislation that regulates nutrient application and restricts development in environmentally sensitive areas and has established water quality standards objectives and guidelines to protect our valuable water resources.

Water Quality in Manitoba

Manitoba Environment and Climate Change operates a number of long-term water quality monitoring programs across the province and has water quality data available for over 350 bodies of water. Since the 1970s, the province has maintained a long-term water quality monitoring program on major streams, rivers and lakes at more than 65 sites throughout Manitoba where up to 150 water quality variables are measured throughout the year. Long-term monitoring at some sites has been supported by partnerships with Watershed Districts, Manitoba Hydro and the University of Manitoba. These data are used to evaluate the suitability of water for important uses such as drinking water, irrigation, recreation and habitat for aquatic life and wildlife. This information is also used to assess water quality impairments, trends and nutrient loads, to calculate the CCME Water Quality Index, and is also used in the integrated watershed management planning process to protect the health of surface waters in Manitoba.

Manitoba Environment and Climate Change also maintains active long-term water quality monitoring programs on Lake Winnipeg and on lakes and rivers in northern Manitoba to assess the impact of anthropogenic activities on water quality and aquatic life and to provide information to support and protect the health of the waterbodies. Water quality is also monitored at more than 60 beaches across Manitoba to protect public health.

Data are available on request (instructions and data request form here).

Further Information

Water Quality Management Section
Manitoba Environment and Climate Change
Water Science and Watershed Management Branch
Box 14, 14 Fultz Boulevard
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3Y 0L6

Telephone: 1-204-945-0002
Fax: 1-204-948-2357
Toll Free: 1-800-282-8069 (ext. 0002)