Great Salt Lake drops to new historic low

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Great Salt Lake’s elevation fell to 4,191.3 feet on Saturday, a new record low according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

“Based on current trends and historical data, the USGS anticipates water levels may decline an additional foot over the next several months,” said USGS Utah Water Science Center data chief Ryan Rowland. “This information is critical in helping resource managers make informed decisions on Great Salt Lake resources. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.”

The average daily water levels are about an inch below the previous record set in 1963. The USGS maintains records for the lake going back to 1847, the year the pioneers arrived in Salt Lake Valley.

It is the largest saltwater lake in the Western Hemisphere.

“We are sad to report that this extraordinary example of the rich web of relationships, land, water, food, industry, and survival has hit a new historic low,” said the Utah Division of Water Resources. “While the lake has been in decline for some time, the current megadrought has exacerbated its current state. We are working with policymakers, scientists, and stakeholders to identify ways to help our state capitol’s namesake. We encourage all Utahns to double down on their conservation efforts. We are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions.”

The lake is fed by the Bear, Weber, and Jordan rivers. Streamflow levels across Utah are being hit hard by the drought, as a majority are reporting below-normal flows.

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