UTAH DROUGHT

Water experts say it’s going to take more than one big year to fill the Great Salt Lake

May 22, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: May 15, 2024, 12:35 pm

SenThere's still a lot of exposed lake bed around The Great Salt Lake and water managers say it's g...

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 —  Ever since The Great Salt Lake hit its lowest water level on record in November 2022, concerns over things like arsenic in the exposed lake bed have only grown.

Despite about five feet of new water from winter and spring runoff, Ben Stireman with the Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands said it’s not going to be enough to fix the problem.

“This is a great year, it is [the water] covering up a lot of that lake bed that was exposed. However, it’s not going to cover up all of the exposed lake bed,” Stireman told KSL NewsRadio. 

He said that ideally, the lake should rise another five to six feet, which isn’t likely to happen this year. 

The state legislature recently approved funding for five new dust monitors around the lake. While research into the dust and its effects are still in the works, Starman said you can’t go wrong with getting more water into the lake.

“Hopefully through conservation, and you know another good snowpack, we may get there in the next year or two,” Stireman said. 

Executive Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Joel Ferry, said the best way to mitigate toxic dust around The Great Salt Lake is to increase the lake level.

Also, he emphasized that dust blowing from the Great Salt Lake is a long-term, not a short-term health concern for people.

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Water experts say it’s going to take more than one big year to fill the Great Salt Lake