Your Diet Coke can could be in jeopardy if the Great Salt Lake dries up

Jul 29, 2022, 1:15 PM | Updated: Aug 2, 2022, 10:20 am

The drying Great Salt Lake is pictured at Farmington Bay...

Record low water levels are seen in the Farmington Bay from Antelope Island on Friday, July 22, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — If the toxic dust possible from the drying Great Salt Lake isn’t enough to worry you, maybe losing your Diet Coke can will.

Among the minerals harvested at the lake is magnesium. And it’s used to make the can that holds the soda.

“So when you drink a soda, like a Diet Coke, that magnesium is mixed in with the aluminum and that’s what allows the aluminum to be pressed so thin,” said Joel Ferry, the acting director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

“So next time you drink a Diet Coke, thank the Great Salt Lake,” he said.

That’s just one of the dozens of industries that use the resources of the lake.

What else is at risk if the Great Salt Lake continues to decline?

Ferry estimates that “the economic output of GSL is $1.32 billion annually, with a total labor income of $375.1 million and total employment of 7,706 jobs.”

Those almonds you like to eat?

Sulfate of potash is a huge product, probably the single biggest product that comes off the lake,” said Ferry.

Tree nut production uses sulfate of potash as a fertilizer for nuts like pistachios, and almonds.

Another impact on food could come from brine shrimp, who feed the farm-raised shrimp much of us eat.

Any beyond food?

Lithium, used in batteries like the ones used for electric cars, could also be affected.

“Mining companies extract nearly 2 million tons of minerals per year. Water is removed from diked ponds by evaporation. There are over 85,000 acres of diked evaporation ponds in the Great Salt Lake – comprising an area twice that of San Francisco,” according to the DNR.

Even Utah’s famous skiing could be affected. Lake effect snow helps contribute to the “Greatest Snow on Earth.”

“And so when you think about the quality of life, the things in our daily lives, eating a pistachio, eating an almond, eating some shrimp, drinking a Diet Coke, those are all things we enjoy because of the Great Salt Lake,” said Ferry.


We want to hear from you.

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

Utah Drought

an aerial photo shows the great salt lake, water level outlook is looking good for the lake...

Adam Small

The Great Salt Lake has a chance to be healthy again for the first time in over a decade

The water level in the Great Salt Lake is 1.5 feet from the tail-end of its healthy range of 4,196 to 4,200 feet.

7 hours ago

Sprinkler goes off, wondering when to turn on sprinklers?...

Adam Small

Don’t turn on the sprinklers just yet, expert says

Wondering when to turn on sprinklers now that we've been having warmer weather? Follow these guidelines to keep your lawn alive while still conserving water.

2 days ago

Warm weather will all for some of the Utah snowpack to begin melting off this weekend....

Adam Small

Utah temperatures warming up, strong snowpack set to start melting

Temperatures in Utah are going to get much warmer over the next few days, allowing for the snowpack we've accumulated to start melting off.

6 days ago

A screenshot from the Utah Division of Natural Resources website shows information about Panguitch ...

Kira Hoffelmeyer and Michael Camit

Panguitch Lake dam has a growing crack, residents on notice to evacuate

Some people in Garfield County are on standby to evacuate this morning because of growing concerns about a crack in the Panguitch Lake Dam.

8 days ago


Curt Gresseth

Eubank gazes into snow globe to predict spring runoff in Utah

KSL Meteorologist Kevin Eubank talks about the abundant snowpack and what to expect from the spring runoff in Utah.

12 days ago

Patricia Council's North Las Vegas yard after her grass was replaced with artificial turf, on Frida...

Heather Peterson

Is there a war brewing over artificial grass in Salt Lake City?

Some people in Salt Lake City are being asked to pull out their artificial grass, and they are not happy about it.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Your Diet Coke can could be in jeopardy if the Great Salt Lake dries up