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With the increasing pollution of lake water environment and frequent outbreaks of blue-green algae, it is very significant to establish one kind of distributed real-time monitoring network on all typical locations of the lake. In this way, the pollution of lake water environment can be effectively controlled. Nowadays, the stability of data reporting and how to maximize the use of limited power are the biggest problems to the design of real-time monitoring networks. In this paper, according to characteristics of lake monitoring, the design of lake water quality detection system based on wireless sensor network is presented. Key technologies and issues were discussed in the paper based on lake monitoring sensor network topology design, network protocol design and node hardware and software design. Also the application of lake water quality detection system in the Taihu lake was discussed.