June 20, 2023 — Last week, the Great Salt Lake Stewardship Act was introduced by Utah’s four representatives. Spearheaded by Representative John Curtis (UT-03) and joined by Reps. Stewart (UT-02), Moore (UT-01), and Owens (UT-04), the legislation will leverage unspent funds from the Central Utah Project Completion Act for the implementation of water conservation measures in the Great Salt Lake basin.
Supportive Remarks from the Utah Delegation.
Expressing his dedication to the environmental cause, Rep. Curtis commented, “Through this bill, we are ensuring no door is left unopened in this fight to protect the Great Salt Lake and ensure its viability for generations to come.”
The sentiment was echoed by Rep. Stewart, who referred to the lake as being “synonymous with the Beehive State.” He underscored the responsibility of the Utah delegation to preserve and protect this vital part of the community.
Rep. Moore lauded the progress made at the state and federal level, emphasizing that the Great Salt Lake Stewardship Act represents a “critical next step” to provide necessary resources for water conservation, ultimately helping to stabilize the Great Salt Lake.
Finally, Rep. Owens reiterated the need for a comprehensive approach to water conservation. He highlighted that the Stewardship Act provides financial resources for drought mitigation measures and advocates for innovative approaches to preserve and replenish the lake’s water levels amidst historic drought conditions.
Aiming to Protect a Crucial Ecological and Economic Asset.
The Great Salt Lake, a key component of the region’s ecological and economic fabric, has been facing a severe drought that threatens its long-term survival. The Great Salt Lake Stewardship Act seeks to address this crisis by proposing an extension to the water conservation program established under the Central Utah Project Completion Act (CUPCA).
The Role of the Stewardship Act and Its Expansion of CUPCA.
The new bill intends to extend the geographic scope of the existing water conservation program under CUPCA to include the entire Great Salt Lake drainage basin. This move enables the use of unallocated funds for critical water conservation efforts.
If the legislation passes, the Secretary of the Interior would receive additional authority to divert unused funds from other sections of CUPCA to the existing water conservation program. The intent is to bolster the State of Utah, local communities, and northern water districts in their efforts to replenish the lake and uphold conservation initiatives.
June 30, 2018, satellite image of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, by Alexander Gerst via Wikimedia Commons.