The Quebec government is working on a plan to contain the spread of toxic blue-green algae that has contaminated more than 70 lakes in the province this past year.

Controlling certain kinds of human activity near important bodies of water could be one way to contain phosphate levels and curtail the algae's spread, said Claude Béchard, the province's environment minister.

Several communities across the province have been cut off from their regular water supply for various periods of time because of the presence of harmful cyanobacteria, which causes a host of physical and medical problems.

The rampant growth of blue-green algae in Quebec lakes is a problem, and needs attention, Béchard admitted.

"If the solution to save our lakes is more controls, and a better overview of the situation, we will do it," he said.

It is commonly believed that one of the conditions that encourages the growth of the algae in lakes is an abundance of phosphates, that leech into the water from nearby fields.

Quebec is not alone in facing this problem, Béchard said.

"It's in a lot of provinces, and in a lot of states, and we are looking at it very closely, with some other departments, to see what we will do, and what will be the action that we will have to take."

The government is aware of the problem but it's important to keep it in perspective, said Quebec Health Minister Philippe Couillard.

"There should not be panic over this. It's not threatening anybody's life," he said Tuesday.

More than 10 communities across the province are living with partial or complete water bans because of blue-green algae in their water supply.