UTAH DROUGHT

Sen. Romney introduces bill to help Great Salt Lake

Jul 14, 2022, 4:00 PM
Sen. Mitt Romney is introducing a bill to help the Great Salt Lake's historically low water levels....
Kian Spendlove and Zeke Barrientos take their paddleboard out of the lake at the Great Salt Lake State Park in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 10, 2022. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)
(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mitt Romney is proposing a bill that would fund a study into saving the Great Salt Lake, just days after it hit its most historic lows

Utah’s junior senator, along with Congressmen Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens, introduced the Great Salt Lake Recovery Act today. The proposed law would authorize a study of the drought conditions at the lake, and work toward finding solutions to help the lake.

Those solutions could be anything from canal reinforcement to pipelines across state boundaries.

It builds on what lawmakers in Utah already introduced in the 2022 legislative session and warnings about the lake’s status this summer. It also gives $40 million to a program that improves the lake’s watershed.

Consequences if the lake dries up could be dire, not only for the lake’s ecosystem but also for the air we breathe and Utah’s snowpack. 

Here’s the reaction from the lawmakers proposing the act

“Utah’s iconic Great Salt Lake is currently at the lowest levels ever recorded — for the second time in less than a year,” Romney said. “It is incumbent on us to take action now which will preserve and protect this critical body of water for many generations to come. By authorizing a feasibility study on addressing the historic drought conditions of the Great Salt Lake, this legislation complements and elevates the work already being done by the State of Utah to develop a permanent solution to save our Great Salt Lake.”

“The Great Salt Lake is synonymous with the Beehive State,” said Stewart. “And it’s our responsibility to ensure this staple of our community is maintained, preserved, and protected for the people of Utah. This month, the lake dropped to its lowest level ever — a grim milestone (for) the wildlife, people, and industries along its receding shores. State and local officials are hard at work to save the lake and support those who rely on it, but reversing this trend will take a collective effort. This legislation is a great first step toward finding a solution, but our work is far from over.”

“The Great Salt Lake is integral to Utah’s ecosystem and landscape. Historic drought conditions have threatened this treasure, and time is running out. I am proud to support the Great Salt Lake Recovery Act because it is a crucial step to understanding and protecting this fragile resource,” said  Owens.

Utah leaders react to Great Salt Lake Recovery Act

Lawmakers got a view of the Great Salt Lake levels via Blackhawk helicopters this year.

“For years, our strategy to address a receding Great Salt Lake has been to hope for water levels to rise. We are now at a crisis point and if we want to find a solution, hope can no longer be our strategy—we must explore every option to get more water to the lake than ever before,” said Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson.

“The Great Salt Lake is iconic when you think of Utah. As one of the state’s many resources, we must do all we can to preserve it for the benefit of the citizens of Utah. The current drought has put a strain on the upstream flows that have historically fed the lake. Being able to study ways to increase water supply while protecting the delicate ecosystem will help us understand the best ways we can preserve this often overlooked resource,” said Director of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands Jamie Barnes.

Today’s Top Stories

Utah Drought

Colorado River...
Lindsay Aerts

Utah won’t be forced to cut water use from Colorado River, at least for now

While still being required to conserve water, Utah will not have its water use cut from the Colorado River, at least for now, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.
2 days ago
FILE:  Satellite view of Lake Powell in Utah, in April, 2022. (Gallo Images/Orbital Horizon/Coperni...
Ella Nilsen and Rachel Ramirez, CNN

Colorado River falls into Tier 2 shortage, new cuts coming for Southwest

The federal government is implementing new mandatory water cuts and asking states to devise a plan to save the river basin.
2 days ago
Photo courtesy of the Utah Department of Natural Resources...
Chandler Holt

Some Utah areas see slight drop in drought levels

A drought update from the Utah Division of Water Resources offers a glimpse of good news for Utah. Division spokesman Michael Sanchez says you can thank a good monsoonal season for a slight drop in the percentage of the state that is in extreme drought or worse
6 days ago
The water level at Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US by volume, is at its lowest since it ...
Nouran Salahieh and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

More human remains discovered in Lake Mead’s receding waters

More human remains have been found in the receding waters of Lake Mead, authorities announced Saturday. This is the fourth time human remains have been found at Lake Mead National Recreation Area since May.
11 days ago
Four American white pelicans forage in Utah Lake on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. The Daybreak Water Compan...
Martha Harris

Low water levels at Utah Lake cause restrictions for Daybreak

The Daybreak Water Company says its secondary access at Utah Lake is restricted due to low water levels. However, a expert says those restrictions are in place for the health of the lake.
13 days ago
sprinkler is pictured. Secondary water is used for irrigation....
Kate Davis

Utah Board of Water Resources approves nearly $200 million to build secondary water meters

Grants totaling around $190 million will be used to build over 100,000 new secondary water meters across the state of Utah.
13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Sen. Romney introduces bill to help Great Salt Lake