Question by Brenda Viera, Salt Lake County, Utah  

The salinity does not degrade the lake, according to Craig Miller, the Hydrology and Modeling Section Manager for the Utah Division of Water Resources. 

Miller said the salinity in the lake actually protects the water from evaporation. However, the south arm of the lake does lose more water through evaporation than the north arm of the lake. 

“The fact that we have the causeway that causes less salinity in the south arm, actually lowers the lake a bit,” Miller said, “by enhancing the evaporation in the south part of the lake.”

Miller noted there is still much to learn about the lake and how the water evaporates. However, he mentioned that shallow ponds of water evaporate at quicker rates. This could mean the lower the lake water levels get, the quicker the water could evaporate. 

“There’s so many things we don’t understand about how the lake evaporates water. That’s one of the things I’m hoping we get more research in,” he said, “that will influence how we manage the lake.”

—Reported and written by McCaulee Blackburn