Niagara Falls Water Volume is Lower at Night
By Chad Upton | Editor
The magnificent waterfalls known as Niagara falls are split on the US/Canada border. People come to see massive amounts of water flowing over the falls and that’s exactly what they get, during the day.
While the falls are a popular tourist attraction, many people don’t know the water is an important source of power. There is one power company on each side of the border that draws water from above the falls to turn their generators.
Unfortunately, drawing water from the river above the falls can impact what the falls look like.
During the tourist season (April to October), the power companies must maintain the water flow over the falls at 100,000 cubic feet per second. That’s not very difficult since the river has a natural flow of about 212,000 cubic feet per second on a typical summer day. That means they normally draw about 100,000 cubic feet per second for power generation and allow that same amount over the falls.
But at night, they can draw even more water and lower the flow at the falls to about 50,000 cubic feet per second. This extra flow allows them to turn their turbines and fill up their reservoirs so they have more water after the tourism flow is restored in the morning. Since the falls erode about two feet per year, drawing extra water at night also slows erosion so the falls will be around for many generations to come.
Image: Alberto Mari (cc)