Great Salt Lake hits new historic low

SALT LAKE CITY — On July 3, the water level at the Great Salt Lake was recorded at 4,190.1 feet, marking a new historic low. The previous record was set last summer at 4,190.2 feet.

An aerial view from this morning:

“Lake level data recorded at this gage has proven invaluable for resource managers and researchers working on Great Salt Lake during this dynamic time,” said USGS Utah Water Science Center data chief Ryan Rowland.

Based on historic data, lake levels will likely continue to decrease until fall or early winter when the amount of incoming water to the lake equals or exceeds evaporative losses, USGS said.

The body of water has dropped 11 feet since records were first taken in the 1800s.

The exposed lake bed contains high levels of arsenic, and as the water level continues to fall, it could leave wind storms to create a harmful environment for residents of the Wasatch Front. Other concerns include losing the vital lake effect for snow precipitation in the mountains.

Policy ideas to save the lake have included a pipeline that connects to the Pacific Ocean. A feasibility study was approved in May. Several bills geared towards saving the Great Salt Lake were passed in the legislative session earlier this year.

Most of Utah is currently under an extreme drought.

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