Great Lakes Waters: Too Little or Too Much?

by Stanley A. Changnon, Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Supplying Water and Saving the Environment for Six Billion People


Water supplies in the Great Lakes Basin, the world's largest fresh water supply, are more than adequate to meet current and projected needs. However, supplies could become a problem if the climate changes or water quality seriously degrades. The principal water quantity problem of the Great Lakes is the fluctuations in lake levels, providing too much or too little water. Society has become extremely sensitive to these aberrations around average levels, one the major lessons learned in recent years in the basin. Recent basin-wide problems like water quality, fluctuating levels, and acid rain reveal a need for new policies and institutional approaches for the management of the Great Lakes. Lake-level forecasts are not sufficiently accurate nor long-term to allow for wise management decisions. Continuing degradation of water quality or a major climatic change during the next few decades could seriously reduce net basin supplies and create serious water supply problems.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Water supply | Water pollution | Lakes | Climate change | Basins | Water level | Great Lakes

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