One of North America’s greatest natural attractions, Niagara Falls is renowned for its beauty and size. The Falls separates between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario via the Niagara River watercourse, with a vertical drop of 167 ft., or 52m.
Niagara Falls is divided into the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and two falls on the US-side.
During periods of high flow, the amount of water that drops over Niagara Falls exceeds 6 million cubic feet every minute. To put this figure in perspective, it’s equivalent to keeping your kitchen sink tap water running continuously at full flow for 38 years!
The power of Niagara Falls has been harnessed to generate hydroelectricity from dams constructed on the Niagara River. Indeed, it is the most powerful water fall in North America and an important source for renewable energy in Ontario and New York State.
Water flow over Niagara Falls is controlled by means of massive gates constructed upstream. At night and during low tourist season, flow is halved and water is diverted to the electric stations.
Both the Canadian and US governments, through the International Joint Commission (IJC), manage water flow in the River.
In addition to electricity generation, Niagara River water is used for industrial cooling, recreational and drinking water applications.
Despite their impressive display, Niagara Falls is not considered the “tallest” in the world. In fact, there are over 500 falls higher than Niagara, but the combination of height and sheer volume makes Niagara so majestic!