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

Deseret News writer Joe Bauman in the background looks at the irrigation ditches with no water and ...

Adam Small

More than half of Utah is now ‘abnormally dry,’ but still not in a drought.

The latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor lists 53% of Utah's land as 'abnormally dry' but the state is still not in a drought.

2 days ago

East/west traffic on 4700 South at Bangerter Highway is going to shut down for a year due to constr...

Adam Small

How Utah construction workers are battling triple digit heat

Construction crews are having to deal with intense heat in Utah state this summer by taking breaks and communicating with one another.

9 days ago

Shrinking Great Salt Lake...

Ben Winslow, FOX 13

Lake-effect drought? New study shows a shrinking Great Salt Lake may exacerbate Utah’s drought conditions

A new study shows the impact of the shrinking Great Salt Lake could be exacerbating drought conditions.

11 days ago

Colorado River Basin...

Adam Small

Utah, other Colorado River Basin states want to ensure conserved water gets to Lake Powell

Water managers from Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico recently adopted a resolution to begin work to create a program that tracks conserved water.

12 days ago

Great Salt Lake...

Adam Small

Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell reach multi-year highs, but one is already losing water

Great Salt Lake and Lake Powell have seen increased their water levels however, Great Salt Lake has started to recede.

24 days ago

Parts of Utah have been given a heat advisory on Sunday. A view of the state Capitol and the Salt L...

Kennedy Camarena

Parts of Utah under excessive heat warning

Utah has been given two different kinds of heat advisories for parts of the state by the National Weather Service on Sunday.

28 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

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