It’s impossible not to see the lake when flying into Salt Lake City, it’s the largest inland body of water west of the Mississippi. Only from the air you have the chance to experience the magnitude of this salty sea. But thanks to the city which bears its name… it’s being destroyed and the future of the Great Salt Lake may not be so great…
Three (3) rivers drain into the Great Salt Lake and are its life blood – Weber Lake, Jordan River and Bear River but now the State of Utah proposed siphoning off 1/5th of the “flow from the Bear River that they consider “unused”.
According to state estimates (of the State plan), removal of the flow would cause the lake to drop by almost a foot and could expose nearly 30 square miles of lake bed worsening the toxic dust storms that regularly blanket the surrounding area.
The plan would also destroy wetlands along the lakes shoreline that provide food and habitat for buffalo, coyotes, big horn sheep and an estimated eight million birds.
Proponents say the diversion of up to 72 billion gallons of water would be enough to meet the needs of a city of one million for a year and argue that it is needed to thwart anticipated shortages for one of the fastest-growing regions in the U.S.
“By 2050, Utah is projected to hit five million residents and Wasatch Front metropolis, which includes Salt Lake City, is expected to nearly double its population of about two million.”
Under the same premise, lakes such as the Dead Sea and Aral Sea have seen disastrous repercussions from their diversions – the Aral Sea alone has shrunk to about 10% of its original size and back in the U.S. the Salton Sea is facing a similar fate.
Over the past 150+ years, around 530 square miles of the Great Salt Lake has been exposed in the name of growth and development – a chunk of land about a quarter of the size of Vermont.
The ecology of the Great Salt Lake is especially delicate and requires fresh water to maintain a saline balance. This plan would destroy that balance.
Utah recently presented maps to cut the Big Ears National Monument by 90% opening the land to gas, oil and mining interests a now the Great Salt Lake will become… well, less great.
When did Utah lawmakers start ignoring the needs if its environment and its people. When did developers, businessmen and corporations become the voice of the State? Has Utah changed its attitude and turned its back on the environment? Do you want to do something? Do you want to know how to get involved?
Do it! Make a difference now!