Raise a Glass to the Great Lakes!

Quick! And without stopping to think: Do you know how many water faucets you have in your house?

Faucet Magic

I had to stop and think. And there were more than I thought before I mentally counted them. Five sink faucets. Such a wealth of water. What about outside faucets? (Do you ever drink from your hose in the midst of gardening on a hot day like I do?)

Consider: You feel thirst . . . And with the twist of a wrist, you effortlessly turn on a faucet. The water flows out of the faucet and runs down the drain interrupted briefly by a cup . . .

. . . or a mouth. Do you remember using your kitchen or a bathroom sink faucet as a drinking fountain doing as a kid? Letting the screen door slam behind you as you run out of the glare of a hot summer day into the sudden dark and cool of the house, to the immediate gratification of your open mouth under a running faucet.

We’re that easily hydrated. And we often have the luxury of drinking until we’re satiated.

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A long cool drink of water is something many of us have been able to take for granted all of our lives. Something that is not true for many people in other parts of the world. And despite being surrounded by the Great Lakes, this has not been true for the last two years for some American citizens among us–the Michigan residents living in Flint.

If you’ve been following the story in the news, you, too, may find yourself feeling gratitude, as I have, when turning on a faucet on these days.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 22nd is World Water Day 2016, a day first celebrated in 1993 and observed internationally. This is a good week to think about from where the water coming out of your faucet originates.

Do you know where your drinking water comes from?

If you don’t know, enter the question “Where does [insert your city’s name] city water come from?” into your browser’s search field. This may take you to your city’s website or supply you with other hits that get you to the answer faster.

I live in a suburb of Detroit. The water I drink comes from the Detroit River–one of the waterways of the Great Lakes Basin–through the intakes at the head of an island: Belle Isle.

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Water of the Detroit River off Michigan’s Belle Isle, flowing under the MacArthur Bridge (aka the Belle Isle Bridge) and past the skyline of Detroit (A)

Your water may come from a waterway in the Great Lakes Basin, too.  The Great Lakes supply:

  • 20% of the world’s surface water
  • 84% of the water used in all of North America
  • 95% of the U.S. surface water.

You can find out more about the Great Lake Basin and its water from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Great Lakes Information Network.

Chances are, your drinking water is coming from one of these Great Lakes bodies of water–the five Great Lakes, a connecting secondary lake, or a river or strait–along the way as the water flows from the headwaters of Lake Nipigon to empty into the Atlantic Ocean (and you can look forward to a quiz at the end of the photos):

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Water of Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay at Ontario’s Honey Harbour shoreline (B)
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Water of the St. Lawrence River off Ontario’s Howe Island being paddled by an inquisitive loon (C)
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Water of Lake Michigan at Schoolhouse Beach on Wisconsin’s Washington Island, a Door County island (D)
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Water of Lake Superior in Washington Harbor off Michigan’s Isle Royale being enjoyed on a hot day by a moose and her twin calves as we arrived from Minnesota (E)
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Water of the St. Marys River off of the Batchewana First Nation of  Ojibways’ Whitefish Island where a fisherman is getting situated where the great rapids once jumped (F)
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Water of the Straits of Mackinac from Michigan’s Bois Blanc Island’s Bible Beach, with Mackinac Island rising up through the haze in the distance (G)
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Water of the St. Clair River flowing between Michigan’s Harsens Island and the unceeded island of Walpole (across the river) under the watchful eye of a robin atop a statue of the Virgin Mary at St. Mark Church, a part of the Our Lady of the River Parish (H)
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Water of the Niagara River, at New York’s Niagara Falls State Park’s Terrapin Point, at the brink of the 167-foot (51-meter) Canadian Horseshoe Falls (I)
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Water of Lake Ontario off the boardwalk of the Toronto Islands when Tall Ships were sailing the Great Lakes in commemoration of the 1813 Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812 (J)
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Water of Lake Erie from Ontario’s Pelee Island, at Sheridan Point overlooking Hulda’s Rock (K)

Raise a glass (of water, of course!) to the Great Lakes this week.

And now for the quiz . . .

While you quench your thirst, see if you are able to figure out the correct order of the 11 Great Lakes Basin waterways in the photos above if you were to order them as the water flows. (This may prove to be good practice for the book giveaways coming next month.)

In your answer, assign the numbers 1 through 11 to the letters (A-K) in parentheses at the end of the captions: A. Detroit River; B. Lake Huron; C. St. Lawrence River; D. Lake Michigan; E. Lake Superior; F. St. Marys River; G. Straits of Mackinac; H. St. Clair River; I. Niagara River; J. Lake Ontario; K. Lake Erie.

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Where, in mapping the water’s flow through the bodies of Great Lakes Basin waterways, do you imagine running into a bit of a conundrum?  Don’t let your efforts go down the drain because of it!

. . . A chance for laud and praise

The first reader to respond with the correct order in a comment to this posting will receive laud!

The first reader identifying the possible “snag” in the flow in a comment will receive praise!

 

2 thoughts on “Raise a Glass to the Great Lakes!

  1. cdalyalways says:

    So I have heard that water is God’s elixir and we are fortunate to have so much, so near, in abundance. Thanks for the reminder that we are stewards of this resource, one we often take for granted.

    Like

  2. Maureen Dunphy says:

    Thank you, Cdalyalways. You are so right; we are incredibly lucky to be close to the Great Lakes, both in terms of water and with respect to the potential for Great Lakes Basin island adventures! Do you have a favorite Great Lakes Basin island?

    Like

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