This article covers more solutions to saving the Great Salt Lake and also explains why some of these proposed solutions might not work or be as effective. Williams reminds the reader that drastic action needs to be taken yesterday and that a way to come up with solutions is to learn more about how and why the lake fell in the first place. From there, we can figure out what needs to be done to reverse the downward trajectory. It is a complex issue that requires complex solutions, and definitely more than just one.
Williams covers some more specific data related to the annual average elevation of the Great Salt Lake and refers to the elevation reports with elevation zones from 1903 to 2022. He points out that “the Great Salt Lake has experienced ups and downs ever since levels were fist tracked in 1847, but the report lists 4,192 feet elevation as the point where ‘serious adverse effects on brine shrimp viability, air quality, mineral production, and recreation’ are possible” (Williams, 2023). The biggest cause of the problem is the consumptive use of water across the valley, but Williams reassures that hope is not lost and there are things we can do.
Although it’s not a long-term solution, one way to start could be taking advantage of this year’s above average snowpack. Williams includes other recommendations proposed by a report by the Utah Division of Water Resources, like to set a lake elevation range goal between 4,198 feet and 4,205 feet in elevation and invest in water conservation to increase inflows or decrease withdrawals from the lake, as well as a few others. One solution that will hopefully help is already in motion, which is Utah Legislature allocating $70 million to the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s Water Optimization Program in the 2022 legislative session.
Agriculture optimization tools allow farmers to be as productive with less water and a report by the Utah Department of Natural Resources estimates that agricultural optimization can reduce water use by 10% to 15%. They also found that The Great Salt Lake Trust could have a potential to lease 200,000 to 300,000 acre-feet of water. This program “allows for water rights owners to lease their rights so the water flows into the Great Salt Lake without the owner losing their rights permanently” (Williams, 2023).
A lot of decisions regarding what will happen next is up to lawmakers and state leaders, which is why many people hope that state leaders act quickly to work on refilling the lake, because lots is at stake if they don’t act on it at all or are too late.
Annotated Article on NowComment: https://nowcomment.com/documents/344366