Question by Brian Smith

Great Salt Lake needs 8 more feet to 15 more vertical feet of water. That's the equivalent of 5.4 million to 12.8 million acre feet of water—about one to two Bear Lakes—to be healthy again, according to Sarah Null, associate professor of watershed sciences at Utah State University. 

In order to accomplish this, significant change is required from the people of the Wasatch Front. 

Jaimi Butler, coordinator of the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College, hopes to see these changes soon.

“About 85% of Utah lives right by Great Salt Lake. We all need to conserve water. Everybody needs to do everything they can,” said Butler. 

For farmers, this may mean leasing water rights to Great Salt Lake. Others can decrease the amount of water they use in their yards, and lobby their neighbors to do the same. Cities can integrate water conservation when planning developments.

“Maybe you’re a sixth-grader. You can conserve water and talk about Great Salt Lake with your family. The power is in your hands,” said Butler. 

—Reported and written by McCaulee Blackburn