Great Lakes Water Use

Program or Topic Area Leader

Emily Finnell


Lake levels are determined by the combined influence of precipitation (the primary source of natural water supply to the Great Lakes), upstream inflows, groundwater, surface water runoff, evaporation, diversions into and out of the system, consumptive uses, dredging and water level regulation. The interplay between human activities, such as dredging, consumptive uses, in and out of basin diversions, wetland reduction, urbanization and agriculture, and the ecology of the lakes is highly complex.

Program Expertise

  • Physical — Hydrologic — Restoration / BMP
  • Physical — Hydrologic — Groundwater (supply, recharge, movement, modeling)
  • Physical — Hydrologic — Ground water to surface water interactions
  • Physical — Water Quality — Physical properties (temp., transmissivity, etc.)
  • Chemical — Water Quality (nutrients, pH, DO, etc.) — Predicting / Modeling trends
  • Biological — General Community Structures — Cumulative human impacts
  • Human Dimensions — Blue Economy — Water technologies and services
  • Human Dimensions — Blue Economy — Tourism
  • Human Dimensions — Agricultural Connections — Nutrient run off

Primary Stakeholder Audience

  • Decision making community (Government at all levels)
  • Industry / private business managers

Program Focus

Surface Water
Great Lakes diversions
Lake levels