Before you dive in, make sure the water is safe. Saskatchewan's ‘Healthy Beaches’ program is now live, offering up-to-date water quality reports for some of your favorite swimming spots across the province. 

“The Healthy Beaches program runs throughout the summer months, beginning the last week in June and continuing through the Labor Day long weekend. Through this program, a number of public swimming beaches and recreational water facilities are being sampled by public health inspectors and others to check water quality,” said Dr. Julie Kryzanowski, deputy chief medical officer with the Ministry of Health.

The program monitors and reports on the water quality at select recreational beaches across Saskatchewan. The selected samples provide accurate and current water quality information for beachgoers to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Krzyzanowski encourages those looking to head out to the water to check the Healthy Beach website to see the status of the water and plan their trips accordingly. She noted that 50 sites are being monitored weekly or bi-weekly throughout the summer.

“The factors that affect water quality depend on a number of things, including how busy the beaches are, how popular they are, and how many swimmers are at these sites. Other factors include precipitation, discharges from adjacent properties, agricultural uses, and that sort of thing, which all affect water quality.”

The samples help determine if there are coliform bacteria, E. coli, which can cause gastrointestinal issues such as stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Another toxin is the microcystin toxin produced by blue-green algae, which can cause skin, eye, and respiratory irritation if ingested.

“We want to make sure that the people in Saskatchewan are able to enjoy a healthy and safe summer. So when they're heading out to these beaches to go swimming, bathing, wading, or engaging in other types of activities, we want to make sure that they have the information they need to stay safe.

You can find the Healthy Beaches map here.