Target: Chairman N. Gawain Snow Utah Division of Water Resources
Goal: Set regulations on water use to protect dependent industries, air quality, and wildlife.
Utah’s reckless water use combined with a drought is forcing the Great Salt Lake to historically low water levels. The Great Salt Lake is the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere, and low water levels impact everything from industry to wildlife to air quality.
Despite above-average snowfall and summer precipitation in the previous year, the Great Salt Lake suffers low water levels because most of that crucial precipitation is diverted to reservoirs and groundwater reserves. Utah needs to recognize the effects of its reckless water use and stop the Great Salt Lake from hitting an all-time low.
For industry, low water levels increases water salinity, which negatively affects the mineral and brine shrimping industries. As the shoreline recedes, the fine sediment below is exposed to winds, creating dust storms and deteriorating air quality. The lake also acts as a water recycler; it collects snowpack runoff in the summer and in the winter, storms created on the lake will drop moisture back on the mountains.
Wildlife has already felt the effects of the low water level. The ecology of the area has changed as pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and bison leave islands that are now connected by land bridges. Not only will wildlife leave, but also new predators are introduced for those that stay on the island. The fourth largest pelican-breeding colony in the U.S. is on Gunnison Island and is suffering from the introduction of new predators on the island.
By signing the petition below, you are urging the Chairman of Utah’s Water Resource Board to put restrictions on the reckless water use that is lowering the Great Salt Lake water level.
Dear Chairman Snow,
The Great Salt Lake is threatening to hit a record-low water level despite above average precipitation levels. This is because crucial precipitation for the lake is being diverted to fill reservoirs and groundwater reserves. These water reserves are being depleted too quickly by reckless water use.
Low water levels not only hurt the industries that are dependent on the salt lake, but also the wildlife and surrounding air quality. I am urging you to place regulations on reckless water use to stop the water level from declining even further. Please take action to set policies that will preserve water and protect our industries, air quality, and wildlife.
[Your Name Here]
Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via Wikimedia Commons