About Lake Futures

Canada possesses a huge number of lakes, both large and small, that provide many services to us. They play a key role in supplying water, food, power, resources, and many other benefits.

However, the quality of our water is vulnerable to changes in climate and land use. The way we use land surrounding our lakes, including how we farm and build on the land, can impact the health of our lakes. All land within the lake basin is connected to the lake and can affect the water quality.

Long-term management strategies must consider both the lake and the nearby land together to manage the water quality of our lakes.

Our diverse team of scientists are focusing on causes, impacts and mitigation of water quality issues of the lower Great Lakes. The research is focused in four main areas; land use, lake processes, ecosystem health, and economic values.  Lake Futures aims to integrate research from these areas to consider the entire lake basin.

Our research hopes to address issues of public concern and is lead by the following questions:

  1. How do we achieve a 40% reduction in phosphorus (P) export to Lake Erie?
  2. How do we manage algal growth in the nearshore waters of the Great Lakes?
  3. How are costs and benefits of water quality interventions factored into socially acceptable decision making?
  4. What is the role of past land use compared to current land use?

Our findings will provide decision makers the tools to chose better management solutions and make the Great Lakes more resilient and adaptive.

Lake Futures is based at the University of Waterloo but brings together researchers and stakeholders from around the Great Lakes. Our research is funded by the Global Water Futures program, one of the largest water science collaborations in the world.