May 17, 2024

Drinking straight from the lake? New video series helps you manage risks

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MISSISSIPPI-RIDEAU, May 16, 2024 – Just in time for cottage season, the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region (MRSPR) has released a series of short educational videos about keeping your drinking water safe when drawing directly from a lake or river. 

Drinking surface water is not uncommon on waterfront properties, but comes with unique risks, including increased potential for harmful algal blooms, pathogens and chemical contaminants to impact drinking water safety.

The MRSPR’s new four-part video series addresses these issues, discussing the pros and cons of available at-home water treatment options and even taking viewers on a tour of an Otter Lake resident’s water treatment setup.

“Drinking water safety is paramount for lake residents, but it can be difficult to find reliable information to ensure you’re taking the right actions to keep your family safe,” said Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Program Manager Marika Livingston. “We hope these videos can shed some light on the risks and offer easy solutions to help residents manage them.”

A recent study of private drinking water supplies on seven major lakes in the Upper and Middle Rideau Valley watershed found that approximately 1,000 residential properties draw water directly from their lake. About one third of these properties reported they are drinking that surface water.  
The study recommended more public education for users of private surface water and groundwater systems, with a focus on the rising issue of harmful algae blooms on lakes and how to choose an appropriate private water treatment system for your property to ensure safe drinking water. This may include a combination of filters, chemical disinfectants, UV light disinfection, water softening or reverse osmosis. Each system comes with its own benefits and limitations, including the little-known fact that UV light disinfection is not effective for removing the toxic bacteria present during a harmful algal bloom (sometimes called a blue-green algae bloom). 

The video series can be found here:

More information about drinking water protection in general – including how residents can help keep contaminants out of their drinking water sources – can be found at


More to explore: 

The MRSPR, in partnership with local conservation authorities and neighbouring source protection regions, helps produce the Drinking Water Wise webinar series focused on informing residents about drinking water issues. Find recordings of past webinars and sign up on the mailing list to hear about upcoming dates here:



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