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garymcg 10-20-2007 04:58 PM

East Lake Erie sailors - can we have our water back?
Greetings to all sailors at the east end of Lake Erie.

Sometime between last night and late this morning you folks at the other end of the lake apparently "borrowed" all of the water from our end of the lake. If you would be so kind as to return it ASAP before I'm aground dockside I would greatly appreciate it. I should add that I would come down and retrieve it myself, but seeing as the dock is about 5 feet above my decks and that I didn't have the foresight to install a ladder I think I'll have to wait awhile.

We know you folks to be a generous sort, but please, we only want OUR water back; you must be finished surfing on it or whatever it is you're doing by now. Please don't send us your water as well.

A warning to you Canadians: it also seems that some of you may have "borrowed" some of our American water. This must be in violation of various international treaties. I would be very careful if I were this may result in us sending uniformed personnel to pay you a visit to "spread democracy" to you folks if this sort of nonsense keeps up.

Thanks for your cooperation

A guy in Michigan.

tigerregis 10-20-2007 07:03 PM

Guy in MI
It's over the Falls and it ain't coming back. You are over a barrel. I'll send a ladder by UPS.

Sailormann 10-20-2007 10:25 PM

The reason that the water is gone is because the Americans have underground pipes siphoning it out of Lake Superior to feed the rain-starved southwest.

SEMIJim 10-20-2007 10:38 PM

*Sheesh* Tell me about it, garymcg. Our boat was stuck in her slip this morning and almost got stuck half-way out to the lake.

One club member told us it's going to get worse, as winter is predicted to be exceedingly mild. That means well under average snow pack and probably less ice, so more evaporation. He was saying lake levels in the spring are expected to be no higher than they are now! :(


bobmcgov 10-21-2007 12:02 AM

Piffle. We sailed on a reservoir in Wyoming that was 72 feet below capacity. Some sneaky bastiches in Colorado have been smuggling all their snowpack to fill pools in LA or water golf courses in Phoenix. The water in our local pond is twenty feet below the boat ramp.

Wah, wah, wah. :p Hey --- have you checked the lake for leaks? It's possible Jim's wind indicator punctured something vital when it fell off.

trantor12020 10-21-2007 09:47 AM

Is it for real you guys has been lossing water from lake ?
Is it an annual thingy or part of An Inconvenient Truth ?

SEMIJim 10-21-2007 10:29 AM


Originally Posted by trantor12020 (Post 209908)
Is it for real you guys has been lossing water from lake ?

Oh, it's real, all right. Lake Superior (the largest fresh water reservoir in the world, I believe), the northern-most of the five Great Lakes, has been dropping at an alarming rate, it seems. Some of it, at least, is ascribed to years of below-average precipitation in the region and above-average temperatures resulting in less ice coverage, thus more evaporation. But the scientists studying it don't believe these issues can account for it all.

One current theory is that channel dredging, to allow really big ships (container ships, ore carriers, etc.), has resulted in too high a flow out of the Great Lakes. Ironically, these same carriers are finding themselves having to reduce their loads considerably due to dropping lake levels. There was at least one incident not long ago, I'm told, where a big ship got stuck in the channel, could not be towed off, and had to have some of its cargo off-loaded to get under way again.

Then again: About a decade or so ago, Lake St. Clair (not one of the Great Lakes, but a kind of widening of the straights between Lake Huron, to the north, and Lake Erie, to the south), experienced uncommonly high water levels. But, since then, it has steadily dropped.


Originally Posted by trantor12020 (Post 209908)
Is it an annual thingy or part of An Inconvenient Truth ?

There is seasonal variation. In the spring-time and through early summer, the Great Lakes basin is usually replenished by melting snow pack in the region and from northern Canada. Also spring precipitation rates are higher. As summer wears on, these sources diminish or disappear, the longer, hotter days increase evaporation, there's less average precipitation, and the lake levels tend to drop.

Still: Lately (several years), it's become worse than "normal." (Whatever that is.) There's now talk of trying to find ways to decrease flow out of the Great Lakes. I even heard mention of doing something at the south end of Lake St. Clair. Though how they'd manage that, I have no idea. There is a lot of commercial and recreational traffic through the south end of that lake and on the Detroit river. I can't imagine locks, for example, being very practical. (Not to mention the cost to put them in.)

Is what we're seeing on the Great Lakes and their connected waterways part of An Inconvenient Truth? Maybe. I know it damn sure is "inconvenient."


CapnHand 10-21-2007 10:58 AM

Lots of data here NOAA. Huron and Michigan are the most affected. They are very near recorded historical low levels (since 1860). The rate of decline from 1999 - 2000 was alarming as is the average level since then.

Superior and St. Clair are slightly below normal, Erie and Ontario are on par.

The NOAA forecast is that water levels in most of the great lakes will rise next year by about 0.2 metres, +/- 0.2 meters.

The Canadian source data is similar.

Sailormann 10-21-2007 11:09 AM

Usually the lakes rise and fall on a 30 year cycle. The problem is that they are not rising again as they should be. You can see the evidence when you go up to Lake Huron. Lots of docks that are sitting high and dry, streams and marshes are drying up...not a good thing.

It's accelerating.

CapnHand 10-21-2007 12:25 PM

The water level drop this week in Lakes St. Clair and Erie are more likely due to reduced supply from Lake Huron. We've seen the level drop at least six inches at the south end of the lake over the past week. Winds out of the south, up to 30 kts, are blowing the water to the north end of the lake. Good news: it should come back, most of it anyhow, as soon as the wind changes.

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