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Kawartha Water Watch (KWW) is a volunteer-based, water quality program operated through Kawartha Conservation. It is designed to monitor and improve water conditions within the Kawartha watershed, which takes in over 2,563 square kilometres and includes Balsam, Cameron, Scugog, Sturgeon, and part of Pigeon Lake, as well as many smaller lakes and streams.

Active monitoring sites

  • About the Program
  • Testing
  • Reports
  • Volunteers
  • Donate

During the summer volunteers sample and test water monthly at their assigned sites. Using kits provided by Kawartha Conservation, volunteers may sample as few as two or as many as nine different locations within their lake, river and stream. Once testing is complete, volunteers complete a field data sheet that they send into Kawartha Conservation where the results are organized and analyzed. Through information gathered from KWW and other provincial agencies, KWW identifies good, satisfactory, and poor water quality. Reports are produced and copies are distributed to participants and government agencies.

KWW Objectives:

  • Provide information on the status of our water resources
  • Isolate potential sources of pollutants in our lakes and rivers
  • Identify potential methods of improving water quality
  • Engage watershed residents in protecting our water quality
  • Preserve or enhance the environment within our watershed.

Kawartha Water Watch volunteers may test a lake, river or stream. At all sites, volunteers test the water for pH, alkalinity and turbidity. They also collect three specific samples for total phosphorus, nitrates and nitrites that are then shipped to an accredited laboratory for analysis. Lake volunteers also perform a secchi disk test to monitor water clarity.

Kawartha Water Watch volunteers are also able to receive additional training to perform benthic macro-invertebrate sampling that involves classifying and counting bugs that live on the bottom of the streams, rivers, or lakes. Certain invertebrates are known to survive only when water conditions are excellent, while others are much more tolerant of poor conditions. This testing is another tool that Kawartha Conservation uses to determine water quality within the Kawartha watershed.


[under construction]

Would you like to be a KWW volunteer?

We are always looking to expand this important program. Perhaps it could be a family project, or a group of cottagers could share the testing.

KWW volunteers must meet the following criteria:

  • Eighteen years of age or older
  • Able to attend a two hour training workshop
  • Have access to a boat for lake sampling or a vehicle for river and stream sampling
  • Able to spend from two to six hours within a twenty four hour period on sampling and testing (testing is time sensitive)
  • Able to take samples once monthly from June through August (can be extended).

Contact us for more information:

Tel: 705.328.2271 Ext. 229
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Making a contribution

Local interest groups and cottage/lake associations provide the main source of funding for the Kawartha Water Watch program. This financial support is used to cover the costs of lab analysis, KWW sampling kits/kit refills, data analysis, and report preparation. If you would like to make a donation to support the program instead, click here for more information. Would your group or association be interested in becoming a partner?

Programs and Services


 Flood Forecasting and Warning

24/7 monitoring and warning about the potential for flooding


Sturgeon Lake shoreline

 Lake and Environmental Management Planning

Science-based plans for protecting lakes and watersheds


Lindsay water tower

 Drinking Water Source Protection

Maintaining a clean supply of water to municipal drinking water systems


Monitoring water flow

 Watershed Monitoring

Scientific research and monitoring of water quality and quantity, and related natural features


2013 Watershed Report Card

 Watershed Report Cards

Assessments of watershed health based on various environmental indicators