Article: Can conserving water save the Great Salt Lake?

When we were originally compiled all the data we collected from our research to put into the presentation it ended up being 4 hours long. Ha! Not kidding. We knew that was WAY too long so we had to cut A LOT of stuff out. 

In some ways it felt like choosing which children to take and which ones to leave behind. Sorry, that's a terrible example but it drives home a point. The information we've discovered is very important for people in our community to understand. We had to narrow it down to the most vital information and then do our best to present it in a way that not only made sense but makes you want to know more so you can be more responsible and take actions that both work and last. 

The following article link is one such bit of information we feel is very important for people who live along the Wasatch Front because our lives are impacted by it. All of us. That subject is the condition of the Great Salt Lake. It's easy for us to ignore it. It's a huge body of water so what should we be worried about. Well, it's a major concern that most people don't know about. 

Here are a few highlights from the article we feel are important to know just in case you choose to not click on the link and take a few minutes to read it. This is worth your time. 

"Utah’s Great Salt Lake is in... decline brought on by decades of drought and diversions from its tributaries that feed water to lawns and fields in northern Utah."

"But a recent study suggests that water users, by dropping their per-gallon-per-day consumption by 50 gallons, could delay a planned Utah project to siphon more water that feeds into the lake. The postponement could be as much as 45 years or longer if the practices take hold."

Did you get that? By using 50 gallons less will give us 45 more years. That should blow your mind. 

“I think Utah residents have been asked to be conservation minded quite a bit in the past, but this is a wake-up call to say if we don’t conserve, it will impact the Great Salt Lake — and there are negative consequences to that.”

"The council has previously noted that as a result of a greatly diminished Great Salt Lake, economic losses in Utah could total $1.69 billion to $2.17 billion per year or $25.4 billion to $32.6 billion over 20 years. It would trigger job losses of more than 6,500 positions in the mineral, brine shrimp and tourism industries."

"Since the arrival of pioneers in Utah in 1847, the waters of the Great Salt Lake have shrunk by 48% and its levels diminished 11 feet due to drought and historical diversions from three rivers that flow into the largest terminal lake in the Western Hemisphere and the eighth largest terminal lake in the world."

"The Bear River Development project proposes to tap 220,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Bear River to deliver to the state’s fast-growing populations. State water officials have said much of the water taken from Bear River would be put back in the system through “return flows.” The actual depletion from the watershed is estimated to be 85,600 acre-feet. An acre-foot of water is 326,000 gallons, or enough water to cover an acre at a depth of one foot."

Let's do some math. 85,600 acre-feet X 326,000 gallons/acre ft = 27,905,600,000 gallons of water. YEP!! That should blow your mind too. 

"The fight to protect the Great Salt Lake has been going on for years, with a nod to its hemispheric importance as both a refueling stop for millions of migratory birds and as a nesting area for others. Some 80% of Utah’s wetlands surround the lake."

Think about it for a moment. When you take the water cycle into consideration you have a body of water that's evaporating then condensing in the air and comes down as precipitation, whether it's snow or rain. If we're losing that much water from the Great Salt Lake then how will we get snow and rain? We already live in a desert and depending on the year we're frequently the 2nd driest state in the country. Of all the mind blowing things we've brought up in this post this should be the most mind blowing and concerning. 

Here's the article link below: