Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (2024)

  • Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (1)Outdoors

"It will take all of us working together to protect and sustain the lake."

by Leo Collis

Restoration of water levels in Utah's Great Salt Lake has received a little help from the nearby Utah Lake.

Utah Lake was considered full in February, and control gates had to be opened to release water down the Jordan River and toward the Great Salt Lake.

The Great Salt Lake has seen declining water levels in recent years amid drought conditions. As NPR and WBUR's Here & Now observed, that has led to the disappearance of migratory birds, while locals are at risk of toxic dust that has been exposed on the lake bed.

According to ABC4, around 300 million gallons per day can be released while the floodgates are open. The rising water levels in Utah Lake have been recorded following a record snowpack in 2023.

Utah also experienced high precipitation levels that broke a streak of dry years in the state. At the start of that year, the U.S. Drought Monitor said 90% of the state was in severe drought conditions, with nearly a quarter in "extreme" drought or worse, as KSL noted. This eased significantly by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, average temperatures were much lower than in other areas of the United States, easing the burden of drought.

"The snowpack last year combined with the conservation efforts of Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley residents means that our reservoirs are full," Wade Tuft, director of the Utah Lake Water Users Association (ULWUA), told ABC4. "Utah Lake is approaching the compromise elevation because water users are storing water from last year while it continues to snow and rain in the watersheds feeding Utah Lake."

However, while this is a positive development for the Great Salt Lake's water levels, Tuft tempered expectations. Around 30 thousand acre-feet of water was expected to be released from Utah Lake, but Great Salt Lake holds around 14 million acre-feet.

"In terms of impact, it's not going to be huge, but every little bit helps at this point," Tuft told KSL News.

Efforts are underway to restore the Great Salt Lake to its former water levels, and a strategic plan was announced in January 2024 to achieve this.

"Striking the right balance for the Great Salt Lake is no small task, especially among the pressures of continued growth, sustained drought and higher temperatures that threaten to increase demand and shrink available water supplies even further," Commissioner Brian Steed said in a press release. "It will take all of us working together to protect and sustain the lake."

While 2023 was something of a relief for Utah regarding weather conditions, the United States as a whole still witnessed its fifth warmest year on record, per KSL.

πŸ—£οΈ Would you buy juice or yogurt made with bruised or misshapen fruit?

πŸ”˜ If I couldn't tell the difference πŸ€”

πŸ”˜ If it were cheaper πŸ’°

πŸ”˜ If it were healthier 🍎

πŸ”˜ I'd never buy it 🚫

πŸ—³οΈ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

It's a tricky situation. While increasingly warm weather brings a rising risk of intense storms, it also makes drought conditions more likely. But since the declining levels of Great Salt Lake have been seen in the last decade or so, it stands to reason that a return to typical average temperatures is essential for the lake's survival.

That's why reducing planet-warming pollution is so important.

Small daily changes, like ditching gas-guzzling cars for public transport or electric models, or cutting your weekly consumption of meat, can reduce the amount of harmful warming gases produced by humans. Great Salt Lake will thank us for it.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Picks

Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (4)

Here are 5 innovative design ideas that can protect homes during the most extreme weather disasters

Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (6)

This new law is like a free '$8,000 bank account' for remodeling your home β€” here's how to take advantage of it

Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (8)

Here's a simple way to turn your old sneakers into actual cash: 'I can tell you firsthand β€” it works'

Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (10)

This startup helps you save money on your utility bills by switching to solar power β€” no rooftop panels necessary

Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (11)

Control gates open for one of the largest natural freshwater lakes after it hits record water levels: 'Our reservoirs are full' (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Errol Quitzon

Last Updated:

Views: 5482

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Errol Quitzon

Birthday: 1993-04-02

Address: 70604 Haley Lane, Port Weldonside, TN 99233-0942

Phone: +9665282866296

Job: Product Retail Agent

Hobby: Computer programming, Horseback riding, Hooping, Dance, Ice skating, Backpacking, Rafting

Introduction: My name is Errol Quitzon, I am a fair, cute, fancy, clean, attractive, sparkling, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.