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Great Salt Lake Collaborative
Great Salt Lake is at its lowest water level on record and continues to shrink. Utah Public Radio has teamed up with more than a dozen Utah organizations for the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a group that has come together to share multimedia stories and rigorous reports about the lake and ways to protect this critical body of water before it's too late.

Utah's water forecast looks good heading into the summer

The water in this part of Great Salt Lake is a murky brown. The shore is rocky. Mountains are in the distant background.
Levi Sim
/
Utah State University
Great Salt Lake on April 22, 2023.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's water forecast is looking good headed into hot summer months.

In a presentation to the Legislative Water Development Commission on Tuesday, Utah Division of Water Resources Director Candice Hasenyager said our snowpack remains strong even with hotter temperatures forecast. Roughly 95% of Utah's water supply comes from snowpack.

"Overall looking really good across the state, and another huge benefit is our reservoirs are full — or about full — we’re about 90% of our statewide average," she told the commission.

Hasenyager said she did not have concerns right now about spring runoff. Some reservoirs are spilling right now, while Lake Powell still remains below average.

With reservoirs so full, local water districts are being pressured to send more downstream to help prop up the Great Salt Lake. The lake itself has risen more than five feet thanks to strong winters, but remains several feet below what is considered ecologically healthy.

In his own presentation, Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed said he expected the lake's water levels to drop again as we head into the summer. On Tuesday, one lawmaker defended his colleagues in the face of criticism about the Great Salt Lake.

"We poured a ton of money into the Great Salt Lake and we’ve acquired water and so on and so forth," said Rep. Carl Albrecht, R-Richfield. "There’s really one person that can throw a level of the Great Salt Lake and that’s somebody that lives upstairs. So I'm kind of sick and tired of the environmentalists telling us what we should do with the great salt lake. We’re doing a whole lot."

This article is published through the Great Salt Lake Collaborative, a solutions journalism initiative that partners news, education and media organizations to help inform people about the plight of the Great Salt Lake—and what can be done to make a difference before it is too late. Read all of our stories at greatsaltlakenews.org.