Jun 26, 2014
By Michael Kramer
A new report from a public policy think tank says low water levels in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River could cause severe economic fallout for the region in coming years.
The study from the Mowat Centre says in the past 17 years, the area has seen the longest extended period of lower water levels – since the U.S. and Canada started keeping records of levels back in 1918.
The Mowat report adds that a number of factors – including colder winters – have helped water levels rebound in the past year – but it’s still a mystery whether or not this is the beginning of a trend.
The Great Lakes hold about 20 per cent of the world’s surface freshwater supply.
They are also home to industries such as hydroelectricity and commercial shipping, as well as recreational boating and fishing.
The Mowat Centre says persistently low water levels could cost the United States and Canada more than US$18 billion by 2050.