Officials to decrease outflows on Lake Ontario as water levels remain low


St. Lawrence River (Pixabay)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Officials are taking action as water levels remain low on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The International Lake Ontario- St. Lawrence River Board announced this week that it has decreased outflows from Lake Ontario. This is following the combination of lower than average precipitation and winter snowpack runoff, resulting decreased inflows to Lake Ontario.

According to the Board, during January and February of 2021, it was deviating under authority granted by the International Joint Commission to remove additional water from Lake Ontario. This was based upon risk analysis conducted in December 2020, which showed a 28% chance of water levels exceeding a damaging high water threshold in 2021.

In response, 9.4 centimeters, or 3.7 inches was removed from Lake Ontario to reduce this risk.

However, as of April 10, 2021, the Board has reduced the outflows to allow Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence water levels to increase.

The Board predicted that Lake Ontario water levels will remain below the long-term average over the summer unless extreme precipitation amounts impact the region. Additionally, the Board stated that the St. Lawrence River will now experience a short term increase as a result of its position near the Moses-Saunders Dam.

The Board added however that most forecast scenarios have suggested that the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario will experience below average water levels this spring and summer.

The International Lake Ontario- St. Lawrence River Board released this announcement on April 13, 2021.

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