January 15, 2024 — Ahead of the state’s legislative season, the University of Utah published a report outlining issues surrounding the Great Salt Lake.
According to the University, conserving water alone will not be enough to restore the lake. The problem is that water that has been conserved by cities and farms has not made its way to the lake. To restore the lake to a healthy level within 30 years, average inflows would need to increase by 471,000 acre feet a year, representing a 33% increase in what has reached the lake in recent years.
A data analysis from Utah’s Great Salt Lake Strike Team notes, “Water conservation efforts will be ineffective for Great Salt Lake if conserved water fails to reach it. The shepherding process requires accurate measurement, robust accounting models, and timely adjustments so depletions can be accurately quantified.”
Actually getting conserved water to the Great Salt Lake is expected to be a key point in the Team’s legislative report.
The “Strike Team” is a 29-member interdisciplinary team that includes t professors of atmospheric sciences, geology professors, and representatives from various state agencies.
The report notes that last year’s winter snow brought a reprieve from years of drought, but produced less runoff than expected because much was absorbed into the ground. On a more positive note, water captured in upstream reservoirs grew by 1.6 million acre-feet, the largest increase ever recorded in a single year.
More at the University of Utah website.