YOUNGSTOWN, NY – Imagine, if you will, Lake Ontario as a giant bathtub....the faucet for which is the mouth of the Niagara River from which flows water from every other Great Lake to fill the tub.
In this case, however, the faucet never shuts off.
As well, imagine a shower head above the tub (symbolized by the incessant rainfall as of late) further filling this tub.
The tub would have a drain, which in this scenario could be symbolized by the Moses-Saunders Dam, located beyond the lake’s far eastern shore on the St Lawrence River, and which an agency in charge of lake levels called the International Joint Commission (IJC) can use –to a degree- to control the outflow of the water from the lake.
Back in January something called Plan 2014 went into effect.
It was a new set of a regulations, 16 years and $20 million in the making, that set the water level of Lake Ontario higher, and keeps it that way for longer periods of time to enhance wetlands around the lake.
There’s been a lot of finger pointing about whether this is to blame for what’s happening now, flooding along the lake’s southern shore, threatening homes and properties.
In a statement the International Joint Commission insists: “The current high water levels have not been caused by Plan 2014. Lake and river levels would have been nearly identical this year under the previous regulation plan.”
The IJC blames the weather, and the near record amounts of rain this spring has brought not only here, but throughout the entire great lakes basin, which ultimately ends up here in Lake Ontario.
And when you’ve got more water coming into this or another giant bathtub than can reasonably go down the drain- you have problems.
Some reason the solution would be to open the drain.
But regulators say that’s no solution to communities beyond the dam along the Saint Lawrence in Canada, which are already flooding, and might be wiped out if they release any more than the one to two million gallons per second that they already releasing .
In other words, it’s too late now.
Even accepting that it’s natures fault, however, some shoreline residents say regulators blew their chance to try and mitigate this before the spring rains arrived, by letting more water out then
But plan 2014 doesn’t allow for that.
And regulators maintain- given the weather—it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.
Although any difference, be it all so slight, might be welcome to those facing the loss of property.
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