05/05/2013 01:22 EDT | Updated 07/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Low water levels in Great Lakes cause concern

Historically low water levels in the Great Lakes may seriously impact the environment and consumers.

Water levels in some of the Great Lakes have dropped to the lowest levels in decades, reports CBC's Aarti Pole, and experts say these steep drops are due to a lack of precipitation and warm weather.

Less ice during the winter increases evaporation, said John Nevin of the International Joint Commission, which is tasked with assisting the Canadian and U.S. governments in finding solutions to problems in waters that lie along or flow across the border.

- CBC's Aarti Pole on low water levels in the Great Lakes

"Evaporation is actually the number one cause of water loss in the Great Lakes," he said.

In addition to adverse effects on the ecosystem, such as areas where fish spawn along Georgian Bay and Lake Huron drying up, the low water levels can impact the economy.

Boats can't be fully loaded if they are not sitting deep enough in the water. This increases the cost of shipping and directly impacts consumers.

"You can see it in the grocery store," said Angus Armstrong, the Toronto Port Authority's harbour master and chief of security.

He said cement, asphalt and bulk goods such as sugar all move through ports.

Those in the tourism industry are also facing challenges.

Low water levels in Lake Huron have caused officials to postpone ferry service until at least Friday, May 10. The ferry service usually runs between Manitoulin Island, Tobermory and Bruce Peninsula.

"I’m very upset. I don’t have a livelihood," said Nancy, who owns a hotel along Lake Huron and is already feeling the financial repercussions of the delayed ferry service.