The Great Salt Lake is Disappearing

Justine Tenifa, staff writer

THE GREAT SALT LAKE continues to fluctuate over the years but this year the lake has reached a significantly low level. The historic high elevation in 1987 was 4,121 feet and as of 2021, the elevation has decreased by 22ft. This is happening mainly because of climate change which has caused an induced drought for the people of Utah according to the community of Kearns. DRIED UP: In Utah, drying Great Salt Lake leads to air pollution by Rachel Fazin. It is believed that as the season changes into autumn and winter the water levels will continue to decrease. Lizzy Rosenberg Stated the Great Salt Lake May Not Be Around Much Longer, “as of 1987 the lake has lost 75% of its water and is expected to continue to evaporate.”
What are the main causes of the dramatic water decrease in the Great Salt Lake? Ms. Smith, a Social Studies teacher at Kearns High School stated, “I believe it’s a lot of things but one of the biggest is climate change.” One of the main causes is the extended drought and the increase of water use by Utah residents. The hot weather is one of the causes of the evaporation of the Great Salt Lake.
What does the Great Salt Lake drying up mean for our community? It could mean being at a loss of migratory bird habitat and food resources. The bird’s migratory routes will adjust away from the Great Salt Lake. The recreation and the natural areas are fading. The Great Salt Lake moderates temperatures in the Salt Lake valley and supplies water for snowpacks. Less snow means a loss of resources for Salt Lake valley. Utah also depends on the income from ski tourism. Less snow could mean less recreation and winter sports.
Is the Great Salt Lake the best it ever was? Many efforts are being made for the process of restoring the lake. How long will it take for the Great Salt Lake to be fixed? Ms. Smith said, “It depends on how many people are working on it as well as how cooperative everyone is. History shows the Great Salt Lake full and overflowing to a stage where plans were made for some of the water to be pumped into the desert. It is to be expected that the increased water demand will not allow the Great Salt Lake to be restored.”
Climate change has been affecting not only the Great Salt Lake but other major parts of the planet. The activities that we decide to participate in produce gasses that let out extra energy causing massive changes in our atmosphere, ocean, and land. We will never be able to go back to the stable climate that we once had, but it’s not too late to make changes.