UTAH DROUGHT

Great Salt Lake so low, a water level measurement system no longer works

Oct 7, 2022, 7:00 PM

Measure Great Salt Lake...

A lifejacket sits on the dock of a dried up Great Salt Lake Marina on Oct. 7, 2022. (Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

(Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education, and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake.

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Great Salt Lake has dropped to such a low level, the U.S. Geological Survey’s measuring system at the marina no longer works.

“Levels are too low for the Saltair Lake Elevation Gage to measure water levels in the south arm. The gage has been in use for over 100 years,” the Utah Department of Natural Resources said in a statement to FOX 13 News on Friday. “The U.S. Geological Survey is now reporting the south arm elevation from the causeway gage near Lakeside. The gage stations are operated by USGS, with cooperative matching funds from DNR and the Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands.”

In its most recent drought report, the agency noted the Great Salt Lake is at 4,188.9 feet, which is down from the previous record low of 4,190.2 feet on July 3. The lake is predicted to continue to decline for a couple more weeks, then start to refill somewhat as cooler temperatures and winter arrives. The unknown is by how much.

The Great Salt Lake has dropped to record lows as a result of Utah’s prolonged drought, climate change and water diversion. State leaders have reacted by rushing to pass water conservation measures and spend millions on efforts to try to get more water into the lake.

Beyond accurate measurements of the lake, the marina can no longer hold boats. The boat ramps extend into a muddy lakebed. Utah State Parks are unable to launch rescue boats from the site and has had to find other nearby places to work from. Recreational boats were pulled from the marina earlier this summer.

“The Department of Natural Resources is in the process of finalizing plans to dredge the marina to allow for emergency boat operations,” the agency said.

However, Antelope Island and the Great Salt Lake Marina remain open to visitors where Utah State Parks hosts educational events to teach people about the lake’s ecosystem and why it is so important to the state.

“Great Salt Lake is critical to our state. It contributes $1.3 billion to our economy, provides over 7,700 jobs, supports 80% of Utah’s valuable wetlands and provides a stopover for millions of birds to rest and refuel each year. It also contributes to our snowpack,” the department said in its statement. “We are committed to finding solutions to protect this critical resource. By doing so, we help our economy, our environment, our wildlife and our future.”

 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah Drought

a sprinkler shoots water over grass, utah drought conditions have improved...

Allessandra Harris

Utah is no longer in a severe drought

After the state's record-breaking snowpack, and for the first time in four years, the state is out of severe drought conditions.

11 months ago

The Great Salt Lake is getting a little boost from a new water diversion coming from the Weber Rive...

Lindsay Aerts

Great Salt Lake getting a bump from Weber River water diversion

The Weber Basin Water Conservancy District said water released today from the Weber River will eventually make it to the Great Salt Lake.

11 months ago

Sprinklers water a lawn in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)...

Curt Gresseth

Are you eligible for a landscape rebate?

Only 35 of Utah’s 329 cities qualify for the landscape rebate, which pays homeowners $3 per square foot to rip out their thirsty lawns. Cynthia Bee of the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District joins the show to discuss the statewide program.

11 months ago

The Great Salt Lake on Wednesday. Utah researchers say the lake may end up gaining 6 feet between N...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Record snowpack likely adds 2 years to Great Salt Lake’s long-term outlook, experts say

When taking into account the typical summer loss, he projects that the lake will be about 4,192.5 feet to 4,193 feet by the end of the year, close to current levels.

11 months ago

Joel Ferry, excecutive director of the Utah Dept..of Natural Resorces. (Ben Winslow)...

Ben Winslow, FOX 13

Strawberries in the Desert: From drip irrigation to vertical gardens, Utah officials learn how Israel does more with less water

The delegation walked into a greenhouse where plump, ripe strawberries were growing in the middle of the Negev Desert.

12 months ago

Utah lawmakers and elected officials recently took a trip to Isreal to see how the country effectiv...

Waverly Golden

Utah leaders look to Israel for water management and solutions

Utah lawmakers and elected officials recently took a trip to Isreal to see how the country effectively manages and creates water solutions to apply to Utah's ongoing drought.

12 months ago

Sponsored Articles

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Group of cheerful team members high fiving each other...

Visit Bear Lake

How To Plan a Business Retreat in Bear Lake This Spring

Are you wondering how to plan a business retreat this spring? Read our sample itinerary to plan a team getaway to Bear Lake.

Cheerful young woman writing an assignment while sitting at desk between two classmates during clas...

BYU EMBA at the Marriott School of Business

Hear it Firsthand: 6 Students Share Their Executive MBA Experience at BYU’s Marriott School of Business

The Executive MBA program at BYU offers great opportunities. Hear experiences straight from students enrolled in the program.

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and gates.

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...

Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer.

Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy.

Great Salt Lake so low, a water level measurement system no longer works