Great Salt Lake Water Levels Are At A Historic Low

Many areas in the United States are experiencing drought, including in Utah. As a result of the extended drought, water levels at the Great Salt Lake are now at the lowest point they have been in recent history.

As the largest natural lake on the west side of the Mississippi River, that fact is distressing.

The US geological survey reported that the previous record of 4191.4 feet, which was set in 1963, was surpassed by 1 inch, according to KWWL News. It is also possible that the lake could continue to drop, as the low levels are usually seen several months in the future from that time of year.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It isn’t just vacationers that are suffering from the low water levels, a nesting spot for pelicans is also being affected. Millions of birds depend upon the lake, so low water levels are a significant problem.

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In addition, sailboats had to be lifted out of the water in some cases so they weren’t stuck in the mud, according to AP News. As the lakebed continues to be exposed, it could dry and toxic dust could become a problem throughout the area.

Photo: flickr/Michael Righi

It has been a common practice for rivers that feed the lake to be diverted for a variety of purposes. The lake itself is shallow, being only 35 feet deep at its deepest point. If too much water is diverted, it doesn’t take long before the water level suffers.

Spring runoff has often been an important time of the year for the lake, when it may gain as much as 2 feet of depth. This past year, the water level only went up by 6 inches.

Photo: Max Pixel

This isn’t only an issue that is affecting the Great Salt Lake, many lakes and other bodies of water are suffering as a result of drought in the western United States.

Unfortunately, scientists are now saying that climate change will only fuel these difficulties in the future.

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