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The Salt Lake Situation

Currently, the Salt Lake located in Utah is in an alarming condition. The largest salt lake in the Western United States has been shrinking. A report from scientists at Brigham Young University concluded that unsustainable water use has shrunk the lake to just 37 percent of its former volume. It is being said that the Great Salt Lake could be dried up within five years. 

The researchers have come to the conclusion that Salt Lake is on track to disappear within five years at the current rate of water usage. They are urging residents to make drastic cuts to the amount of water used, especially with recent droughts taking place.

A major percentage of the water being used is not for personal consumption, however. Agriculture accounts for more than 70 percent of the state’s water use, much of it going to grow hay and alfalfa to feed livestock. Another 9 percent is taken up by mineral extraction. 

The lake has become so salty due to less freshwater flowing in from its river and creek tributaries that it is becoming toxic. The native brine shrimp and flies that have evolved over time to be able to inhabit the salt lake are being affected negatively by this change in the environment.

There have been abnormal conditions taking place across the Salt Lake region recently. The Bonneville Salt Flats experienced a ludicrous amount of rainfall for the region during August 2022 that caused flooding. Hot Rod Magazine’s Speed Week was canceled for the third time in the last two decades due to extreme rain, the previous times taking place in 2014 and 2015.

Despite these alarming conditions, the Miller family and the Larry H. Miller Company just released plans that would bring a Major League Baseball team to Salt Lake City if the league were to expand. The companies plan on turning the Rocky Mountain Power District on Salt Lake City’s west side into a stadium district. 

One of the driving points for a team to be brought to Utah is that the state is currently seeing population growth. This, particularly, is not a great thing considering the conditions of the lake, along with the water usage needed to support a baseball stadium with field maintenance and facilities.

Scientists will continue to study what is going on with the Great Salt Lake and monitor the levels of the lake. The precipitation levels so far this year have given researchers a reason to be positive.

“I’m generally optimistic,”said Hasenyager, the director of the Utah Division of Water Resources, “I don’t think we are past a point of no return—yet.”


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Tags: #utah #environment #waterconservation #saltlake


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