Algae warning issued to dog walkers and lakeside visitors

If you’re one of the thousands planning to soak up the sun at local beauty spots like Chew Valley or Cheddar Lake this weekend, Bristol Water is warning to stay safe and stay out the water.

High levels of blue-green algae have been reported across Chew Valley Lake, Litton Lake, Cheddar Lake and Barrow Tanks. Algae is totally natural and tends to bloom during hot weather.

Steve Smith, Head of Recreations at Bristol Water, said: “Just like the wildlife is flourishing, so is the algae that naturally occurs in the regions lakes and rivers.

“It’s really important to stay safe and stay out the water. It’s never safe to swim in our lakes due to hidden machinery in the water and cold water shock, to name a few, but the presence of algae adds an extra layer of risk. It’s toxic to both dogs and humans.

“I am so delighted to see the lakeside full of people once again. But please enjoy it safety, stick to designated footpaths, maintain social distancing and don’t go for a dip. On Thursday, I spoke to over 300 people failing to enjoy the lakes safely. Rules might seem boring, but we promise they’re there for a reason.”

Algae can make the water look bright green or brown tinged, it may also foam towards the surface. It can often be mistaken for sewage as it can have an earthy like smell. Algae does not affect water supplies as water goes through an intensive treatment process before it reaches your tap.

Bristol Water will be activity monitoring the lakes over the weekend, with regular security patrols in place.

Signs of algae poisoning in dogs:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Seizures or fits
  • Loss of energy
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing

If you think your dog has been in contact with algae, you should contact your vet immediately.