June 30, 2021

Stay Safe on the Water – Watch for Blue-Green Algae

The Water Security Agency and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health are advising the public to avoid direct contact and intended or unintended consumption of any surface water where blue-green algae blooms are occurring.  Pet owners and livestock producers are also advised to keep their animals away from such water.

Algae blooms are heavy concentrations of blue-green and green algae which often give the water a shimmering, foamy and pea soup like appearance.  The blooms may be blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour.  The recent warm temperatures in the province may result in the quick formation of algal blooms.

Algal blooms commonly occur during calm, hot weather in areas of lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow moving or still water that has sufficient nutrients.  The blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind.

Direct contact or unintended consumption of algae-contaminated water can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.  If you have any concerns, consult with your health care provider.  Caution should be taken when considering the consumption of fish or shellfish caught in areas of a water body where a bloom exists; the internal organs of the fish should not be eaten.

If you have health-related questions about blue-green algae, please contact your local Saskatchewan Health Authority environmental health office.

For more information on public beaches in Saskatchewan, please refer to the Healthy Beach Program updates.