The Stream, June 1, 2022: Great Lakes Will Reach Above-Average Water Levels This Year

Lake Michigan in Leland, Michigan. Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue


  • San Diego’s decision to boost water supplies over the last three decades raises prices for customers.
  • A water assistance program in England will reach more than 300,000 customers.
  • Waters on all the Great Lakes, except Lake Superior, are predicted to reach above-average levels once again.
  • High river temperatures in France threatens output at the country’s nuclear plants.

Water shortages are straining wheat harvests in Iraq.

“We need water to solve the problem of desertification, but we also need water to secure our food supplies. We don’t have enough for both.”

– Essa Fayadh, a senior official at the Iraq Environment Ministry.

As the global price for wheat skyrockets, farmers in Iraq say they are unable to grow the necessary crops due to severe water shortages. Last year, the country’s Agriculture Ministry made the decision to cut irrigation for agricultural areas by 50 percent. The decision was fueled by severe water shortages and overextraction of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers by neighboring countries. Additional water sources are also needed to stop extreme desertification, which is responsible for relentless sandstorms over past six months. Without the necessary supplies to combat the dueling challenges, all water projects have come to a standstill.

In Recent Water News

Even in Canada, Where Water Prices are Low, Aging Infrastructure and Rising Costs are a Problem — Some of the highest rates for water in Ontario are in cities and towns within the Great Lakes watershed.

Drought in the American West

San Diego County boasts its bountiful water supplies during a time when other parts of the American West are struggling to keep taps flowing. Over the past 30 years, the county diversified its water supply, boosted conservation efforts, and built the largest desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. Their water security, the Associated Press reports, comes at a high cost to customers. San Diego County water rates are among the highest the in the country, and could rise even more in the coming years.

More News From the West :

  • Dwindling water levels at Lake Powell are revealing once submerged archeological sites.
  • Part of the Navajo Nation that crosses Utah’s border will receive hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. government to build water infrastructure.

This Week’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


A new water assistance program in England could cut some customers bills by 90 percent. The British water utility Severn Trent will add £30 million ($32.1 million) to an existing water assistance program in order to reach over 300,000 customers that are struggling to keep up on their bills.

579.92 FEET

With the exception of Lake Superior, the Great Lakes will sit at above-average levels this summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts. Water levels will still sit below record-highs from 2020, experts say. As of last week, levels reached 579.92 feet on Lakes Michigan and Huron, more than two feet below the record high of 581.96 feet.

On the Radar

High temperatures throughout the month of May is raising the risk of reduced output at France’s nuclear plants. French rivers, whose waters are often used for cooling reactors, are warming faster than usual this year, putting four major nuclear plants in southern France at risk. Nuclear supply across the country stood at just 50 percent capacity last week, after many reactors have gone offline due to corrosion in the last few months.

More Water News

Water use on dairy farms in New Zealand is rising.

The governor of Arizona is in Israel to discuss water, trade and security with top officials.

New air and water drone technology could help meteorologists predict hurricane intensity more accurately.

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