Lake Winnipeg basin: overview

Lake Winnipeg is the eleventh largest freshwater lake in the world and the sixth largest in Canada. It is shallow and extends 436 km from south to north. Its drainage basin is almost a million square kilometers and stretches over four provinces and four U.S. states. Agriculture is the dominant land use in the basin, which is also home to nearly seven million people in Canada and the United States.  Nutrients and other contaminants from various sources throughout the basin contribute to the deterioration of water quality in Lake Winnipeg.

Lake Winnipeg is a valuable freshwater resource that:

Many things stress the health of Lake Winnipeg. Key issues include:

Lake Winnipeg Basin Program: overview

The goal of this program is to tackle the most pressing challenges affecting the health of Lake Winnipeg by:

Key role of science

Science informs protection efforts in Lake Winnipeg and its basin. This science contributes to our shared understanding of the issues in the lake and basin. It also supports priority setting, decision-making, and action.

Canada and Manitoba issued a State of Lake Winnipeg report in 2011 and issued another one in 2020. The report:

Memorandum of understanding

The Canada-Manitoba Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Respecting Lake Winnipeg and the Lake Winnipeg Basin facilitates a cooperative and coordinated approach to address challenges facing Lake Winnipeg such as excessive nutrient loading and climate change. Originally signed in 2010, this MOU was extended in 2015 for an additional 5 years. In 2021, a new MOU was signed and is being implemented.

Canada-Manitoba Memorandum of Understanding Respecting Lake Winnipeg and the Lake Winnipeg Basin


Funding is available through the Lake Winnipeg Basin Program’s application-based funding program for targeted, outcome-focused actions that address at least one of the three program priorities:

Related links


Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: