Experts say ice cover on Maine lakes has been shrinking over the decades. (WGME)

AUBURN (WGME) – Experts say ice cover on Maine lakes has been shrinking over the decades- to a time before refrigerators were invented.

The Auburn water District says their records go back more than a century and show a steady decrease in the amount of ice each year.

Water quality director for Lake Stewards of Maine, Tristan Taber, says ice helps protect lakes from species like bacteria and algae.

“The lake ice keeps it as a cooler and the water is less viable for those species to just grow out of control,” said Taber.

Michael Broadbent of the Auburn Water District says there’s less ice on Lake Auburn year after year.

He says the lake provides drinking water for the Lewiston-Auburn area.

“We have it under control, we’re managing it. And there’s always an engineered solution to a problem and we’re working on that. If it requires more treatment that’s what we’ll do,” said Broadbent.

Broadbent says they watch Lake Auburn’s water quality very closely.

“We watch the algae, we do counts everyday, and the water is absolutely safe to drink,” said Broadbent.

He says if things do get out of control there are long term solutions to making sure the water is still safe to drink- like extending a pipe to colder water or a filtration plant.

Taber says global warming plays a factor in the lake’s rising temperature and so does development.

“It’s going to be making sure that there is preserved lands that are surrounding water bodies,” said Taber.

Taber says like preserving forests which helps to cool lakes.

Taber says in the end, warming lakes could be costly, specifically for drinking water.

He says water bodies like Lake Auburn have a filtration waiver which means the water doesn’t have to be filtered and it goes through a different process.

If algae gets out of control, the filtration waiver could be lost- and expensive for residents.

Source: WGME 

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