Water levels in the Great Lakes are in a constant state of flux. This is good; natural fluctuations are essential to a healthy ecosystem. But sustained periods of extreme water levels are potentially costly, both for the economy and the environment. In June 2014’s Low Water Blues, we estimated the direct economic costs of an extreme low water level scenario on selected sectors in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River System (GLSLS). The results were revealing and, given missing data on a wide range of sectors and impacts, may prove conservative.

This report builds on this research by assessing previously identified mitigation strategies under a similar extreme low water level scenario. We assess the costs and benefits of these approaches under this water level scenario for four key Great Lakes sectors:

  • Commercial shipping and harbours
  • Tourism and recreational water activities
  • Waterfront properties
  • Hydroelectric generation

Author: Rob Dorling & Kyle Hanniman

Published By: Council of the Great Lakes Region & Mowat Centre

Publication Date: April 2016

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