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Regulating Great Lakes Water Levels and Water Use. Presentation to the Workshop Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Levels March 30, 2001 Chicago, Illinois Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., P.E., Ph.D. International Joint Commission United States and Canada Washington, DC.

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Regulating great lakes water levels and water use

Regulating Great Lakes Water Levels and Water Use

Presentation to the Workshop

Climate Change and

Great Lakes Water Levels

March 30, 2001

Chicago, Illinois

Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., P.E., Ph.D.

International Joint Commission

United States and Canada

Washington, DC


Boundary waters treaty of 1909
Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909

  • Provided Principles and Mechanisms to Prevent and Resolve Disputes Concerning Water Quantity and Water Quality and Other Environmental Issues Along the U.S.-Canada Boundary

  • Established the International Joint Commission (IJC)

  • Required IJC Approval of Actions Causing Changes in Levels and Flows


The international joint commission principles of operation
The International Joint CommissionPrinciples of Operation

  • Operation Without Instructions from Governments

  • Balanced Membership:

    • Three Commissioners From Each Country

    • Equality on IJC Boards and Working Groups

  • Service in Personal and Professional Capacity

  • Good Science - Joint Fact-Finding

  • Full Public Involvement


Lake levels
Lake Levels

  • Human Control Over Great Lakes Levels is Minor in Comparison to Nature’s Ability to Change Levels

  • Humans Impact Level by:

    • Regulating Flows

    • Modifying Channels

    • Removing or Adding Waters


Lake Michigan-Huron

Range of Levels

585

584

583

RECORD HIGH

Oct 1986

582

581

580

579

Elev. IGLD1985 (Feet)

578

577

RECORD LOW

Mar 1964

576

575

Jan-64

Jan-73

Jan-86

Jan-60

Jan-61

Jan-62

Jan-63

Jan-65

Jan-66

Jan-67

Jan-68

Jan-69

Jan-70

Jan-71

Jan-72

Jan-74

Jan-75

Jan-76

Jan-77

Jan-78

Jan-79

Jan-80

Jan-81

Jan-82

Jan-83

Jan-84

Jan-85

Jan-87

Jan-88

Jan-89

Jan-90

Jan-91

Jan-92

Jan-93

Jan-94

Jan-95

Jan-96

Jan-97

Jan-98

Jan-99

574

573

Year/Month


Order of use precedence
Order of Use Precedence

  • Domestic and Sanitary

  • Navigation

  • Hydropower

  • Riparians


Lake superior
Lake Superior

  • Systemic Regulation (balancing)

  • Upper & Lower Limits on Lake Superior

  • Maximum and Minimum flow limits

  • Winter Operations

  • Rapids Requirements


Lake ontario st lawrence
Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence

FLOW DOWNST. LAWRENCERIVER

UPSTREAM CONDITIONSLOCAL CONDITIONSDOWNSTREAM CONDITIONS

  • CRITERIA

  • RULES OF PLAN

  • DO NOT EMPTY LAKE

  • DO NOT OVERFILL LAKE

  • DO NOT EXCEED RIVER CAPACITY

  • MAINTAIN MINIMUM LEVELS

  • MAKE ROOM FOR SPRING RAINS


Options
OPTIONS

  • Further Regulation

    • Three Lake

    • Limited Regulation of Lake Erie

  • Diversions Management

  • Emergency Preparedness

  • Land Use / Shoreline Zoning

  • Education

  • Shoreline Protection

  • Dredging


Ijc recommendations
IJC Recommendations

  • No Additional Regulation

  • No Diversion Management

  • Improve Emergency Preparedness

  • Initiate Comprehensive Shoreline Management

  • Review Current Regulation

  • Improve Education

  • Consider Climate Change

  • Address Technical Issues (Forecasting, Mapping,

    Analytical Techniques)


Order of use precedence1
Order of Use Precedence

  • Domestic and Sanitary

  • Navigation

  • Hydropower

  • Riparians

  • Environment

  • Recreational Boaters

Explicit

New


The environment
The Environment

  • Environment Requires Extremes in Levels

  • Changes in Mean Levels Modify Existing Habitat or Create New Habitat

  • Lower Levels May Disturb Sediments



Lake ontario st lawrence river regulation review
Lake Ontario -St. Lawrence River Regulation Review

  • $20 Million (US), Five-Year Study of Criteria Governing Regulation

  • Address Competing Needs of:

    • Navigation

    • Hydropower

    • Riparians

    • Domestic Users

    • Environment

    • Boaters

  • Address Climate Change Impacts


Current water use
Current Water Use

  • Removals -

    • Bottled water - 0.01cfs

    • Ballast water - 0.7cfs

    • Chicago Diversion- 3250cfs

    • Other (net) - 0

  • Consumptive Use - 4270cfs

  • Inflow

    • Long Lac/Ogoki - 5632cfs

    • Bottled Water - 0.14 cfs

  • Outflow (St. Lawrence) 244,000 cfs


The Concern

“The Governments are concerned that current management principles and conservation measures may be inadequate to ensure the future sustainable use of our shared waters.”

Reference to the IJC on the Consumption, Diversion and Removal of Water. February 10, 1999.


IJC Conclusions

  • There is never a ‘surplus’ of water in the Great Lakes system.

  • Because there is uncertainty about the availability of Great Lakes water in the future caution should be used in managing water to protect the resource for the future


Water uses reference
Water Uses Reference

  • Recommended

    • Principles to Govern Removals and Consumptive Uses

    • Development of Standards by States and Provinces

    • Attention to Water Management Issues

      • Climate Change


Current actions
Current Actions

  • Governors and Premiers Develop Standards for Removals and Consumptive Uses

  • Congress- Parliament Affirm

  • IJC Review

  • Climate Change?


Lake levels1
Lake Levels

  • Human Control Over Great Lakes Levels is Minor in Comparison to Nature’s Ability to Change Levels

  • Humans Impact Level by:

    • Regulating Flows

    • Modifying Channels

    • Removing or Adding Waters


Climate change and levels
Climate Change and Levels

  • Climate Change May Severely Stress Current Regulatory Regimes

  • Uncertainty Demands Caution and Intense Study

  • IJC is :

    • Studying St Lawrence

    • Planning for Superior (Michigan and Huron)


IJC Recommendations

  • To protect the integrity of the ecosystem of the Great Lakes basin, permit no proposals for major new or increased CONSUMPTIVE USE to proceed unless:

    • Full consideration of cumulative impacts

    • Effective conservation in requesting area

    • Based on sound planning

    • All returns meet quality objectives of GLWQA


IJC Recommendations

  • Permit no REMOVALS unless proponent can demonstrate that the removal would not endanger the integrity of the ecosystem of the Great Lakes Basin…and that:

    • No practical alternatives

    • Full consideration of cumulative impacts

    • Effective conservation in recipient area

    • Based on sound planning

    • No net loss in process but in no case greater than a 5% loss


Conclusions future demand
Conclusions - Future Demand

  • There are no active proposals for major diversions

  • There remains little reason to believe such proposals will be economically, socially or environmentally feasible in the foreseeable future

  • Alternatives Exist to Great Lakes Water Use - Desalination; Water Rights Transfers; Conservation

  • Potential exists for requests from Near-basin Communities


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