Utah Rivers Council announces policy guidelines to help Great Salt Lake
“The 4,200 Project is a comprehensive solution to raise the Great Salt Lake water levels through a package of new legislative policy measures that will address the chronic upstream water diversions that have lowered the Great Salt Lake over the last 20 years,” said Zachary Frankel, executive director of the environmental advocacy group the Utah Rivers Council.
Frankel announced The 4,200 Project at a press conference Wednesday, which proposes policy solutions for water saving initiatives and water allocation to Great Salt Lake.
The project, named for the estimated healthy lake elevation of 4,200 feet above sea level, features a guidebook with 12 policy recommendations, including setting a target lake elevation, pushing in-stream flow legislation forward, and protecting the lake from future water diversions.
Frankel emphasized the importance of setting a target lake level to measure progress in protecting Great Salt Lake—a prospect Utah lawmakers shied away from in last year’s legislative session.
“If we deliver 50 gallons or 100 gallons or 10,000 gallons, have we saved the Great Salt Lake or how big is that step forward in these water deliveries?” Frankel said.
Even with record-breaking spring runoff, Great Salt Lake water levels remain far below average.
“In just a few months, we've dropped almost two feet since that massive 40 year high snowpack runoff,” Frankel said. “So we can't rely on Mother Nature to solve the problems that residents have created in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming upstream of the Great Salt Lake.”
Unless Utah sees another snowy winter, Frankel anticipates Great Salt Lake dropping to a new record low in 2024.