Great Salt Lake levels hit record high amid mega-drought in western US

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Utah’s Great Salt Lake has reached record water levels for the second time in less than a year, a troubling sign amid historic drought conditions – exacerbated by climate change – in the western states -United.

The lake plunged to 4,190.1 feet on Sunday, lower than the last time surface water hit a record low in October 2021, according to data from the US Geological Survey.

According to the USGS and the Utah Department of Natural Resources, this level will likely continue to drop into the fall or early winter. Levels decrease when the amount of water lost through evaporation exceeds the incoming water.

“That’s not the type of record we like to break,” said Joel Ferry, executive director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources. “Urgent action is needed to help protect and preserve this critical resource. It is clear that the lake is in trouble. We recognize that more action and resources are needed, and we are actively working with the many stakeholders who value the lake.

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Scientists and advocates are urging the West to reduce water use to combat drought conditions.

Utah politicians have tried to come up with proposals that prioritize the conservation and preservation of the lake. Earlier this year, the Republican-dominated legislature passed a $40 million bill to save the Great Salt Lake.

Lawmakers are also looking for ways to reduce water use in the state, where residents use one of the highest amounts of water per capita in the country.

Drought conditions are expected to persist for the next three months across much of Utah, according to the US Drought Monitor. Most of the state is currently experiencing at least one “severe” drought.

Contribute: The Associated Press

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