Utah lawmakers advance bill to help Great Salt Lake in good water years

Feb 14, 2024, 4:00 PM | Updated: May 15, 2024, 12:22 pm

Great Salt Lake shown, a new bill would help the lake during good water years...

FILE: Great Salt Lake in August 2023. (Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

(Adam Small/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Senate committee voted unanimously to advance a bill that directs the Great Salt Lake Commissioner to establish a plan to help the lake during wet water years.

“We’ve got to be more proactive,” said Sen. Nate Blouin, D-Salt Lake City. “We’ve got to make sure we’re maximizing the best opportunities that we have to get water to the Great Salt Lake.”

Blouin is sponsoring SB 196 “Great Salt Lake Amendments.”

He told the Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee Monday his bill simply gives direction to the Great Salt Lake Commissioner’s office. It does not give them new power or authority.

Wet, or good, water years are already a huge focus in the Great Salt Lake Commissioner’s strategic plan to save and preserve the lake over the next one to 30 years.

Deputy Great Salt Lake Commissioner Tim Davis presented the bill to the committee alongside Blouin Monday, emphasizing the importance of taking advantage of years where there’s more water to go around.

“That is really where we will make up the most ground to get the lake to a healthy level and sustain it,” Davis told the committee. “It’s also the time when there’s the least pain to other water users.”

A timely bill for the Great Salt Lake

The legislation is about as timely as it gets. The Great Salt Lake Basin is looking at a lot of favorable factors to start 2024.

Despite the fact the Great Salt Lake is still about five feet shy of its optimum healthy level of 4,198 feet above sea level, the current statewide snowpack is in great shape.

Utah’s reservoir levels are also above average, some are even above 90% full. Plus, Utah’s soil moisture is also in good shape, meaning, less snow will get absorbed into the ground when spring runoff begins in April.

The Great Salt Lake is already benefitting from Utah Lake being about as full as it can be. Last week, officials opened its control gates in Saratoga Springs to release water into the Jordan River, which runs to the Great Salt Lake.

Davis told the committee that the lake is benefitting from water being released in the Weber Basin.

There’s no telling how much water exactly will get to the Great Salt Lake or how much its waters will rise before summer, but managers are hoping for the best.

Blouin’s bill now heads to the full Senate for a vote. It would then need approval from the Utah House and Gov. Spencer Cox to take effect.


We want to hear from you.

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


Stacks of fireworks are seen in a TNT tent on Redwood Road, officials issue warnings about fire dan...

Tammy Kikuchi

Highest level of fire concern: Officials urge people to be cautious ahead of Pioneer Day

As fire danger is at its highest level, officials asked the public to be mindful and follow fire restrictions for the Pioneer Day holiday.

10 hours ago

When leaves start to scorch, the edges of the leaves will turn brown. This generally happens on the...

Michelle Lee

Got leaf scorch on your trees? Here’s what you can do

Leaf scorch is a common problem among trees during the summer due to the excessive heat and low humidity. Here are some ways you can help them survive.

12 hours ago

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.

14 hours ago

lake powell shown, invasive fish causing issues...

Adam Small

Water managers releasing cold water from Lake Powell to fight invasive fish

The Bureau of Reclamation has started strategic cold water releases from Lake Powell to fight invasive fish further down the Colorado River.

16 hours ago

FILE: A houseboat is seen against the backdrop of Lake Powell’s “bathtub ring,” a light-color...

Tammy Kikuchi

Twenty-one people treated for carbon monoxide exposure while boating at Lake Powell

The group was exposed to carbon monoxide while boating near Face Canyon when the headaches, dizziness, and nausea began.

2 days ago

Food truck employees work through scorching temperatures to keep their business going even during a...

Eric Cabrera

How food truck workers get through the intense heat

Food truck employees work through scorching temperatures to keep their business going even during a relentless heat wave.

2 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.

Utah lawmakers advance bill to help Great Salt Lake in good water years