POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Great Salt Lake Basin is closed to new water right appropriations

Nov 3, 2022, 6:00 PM | Updated: Nov 4, 2022, 10:39 am

great salt lake shore -- Multiple agencies overseeing the Great Salt Lake want any mineral-extracti...

FILE: Paddleboarders leave the water 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 — Gov. Spencer Cox issued a proclamation Thursday that suspends new water rights appropriations within the Great Salt Lake Basin.

The governor issued the proclamation as a result of the historically low water level at the Great Salt Lake. The suspension of new water right appropriations include the Bear, Weber, and Jordan rivers. 

“Extreme drought, climate change, and increased demand continue to threaten the Great Salt Lake,” said Gov. Cox in a news release. “We are united in our efforts to protect this critical resource and are taking action to ensure existing flows continue to benefit the lake. When conditions improve, the suspension can be lifted.”

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) agrees with the proclamation issued by the governor. Additionally, Wilson said it will take effort from all residents of Utah to save the Great Salt Lake.

“Saving the Great Salt Lake and protecting our available water sources is no small task and will require significant efforts from all Utahns – government, organizations, businesses, and individuals,” Wilson said in a news release.

“Today’s announcement by Gov. Cox is a move in the right direction. As state leaders, we are doing everything we can to ensure Utah has enough water to meet our current needs and continue to support a growing and thriving population.”

The shrinking Great Salt Lake could have multiple serious impacts on the state. It could lead to worsening of air quality as a result of increased dust in the air. It could also lead to a loss of habitat and harm to the state’s economy. 

“By protecting the lake, we help our economy, environment, wildlife, and future,” Cox said. 

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Great Salt Lake Basin is closed to new water right appropriations