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Great Salt Lake Sets Record Low Water Level 

USGS hydrologic technician Travis Gibson confirms Great Salt Lake water levels at the SaltAire gauge. (Used by permission, Andrew Freel, USGS.)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the southern portion of the Great Salt Lake dropped to a new historic low, and lake levels will get much worse before they improve. 

The new low dropped about an inch below the previous record which was set in 1963. 

“Based on current trends and historical data, the USGS anticipates water levels may decline an additional foot over the next several months,” said USGS Utah Water Science Center data chief Ryan Rowland. “This information is critical in helping resource managers make informed decisions on Great Salt Lake resources. You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” 

The USGS uses an average of daily lake level measurements to determine an accurate measurement. 

A news release said USGS lake levels date to 1847. 

KSL previously reported that about half of the lake’s surface, nearly 750 square miles or roughly the size of Maui, is dry. 

“While the Great Salt Lake has been gradually declining for some time, current drought conditions have accelerated its fall to this new historic low,” said Utah Department of Natural Resources executive director Brian Steed. “We must find ways to balance Utah’s growth with maintaining a healthy lake. Ecological, environmental and economical balance can be found by working together as elected leaders, agencies, industry, stakeholders, and citizens working together.” 

The USGS said streamflow levels across the state were also impacted by extreme drought conditions. Currently, 63% of streamgages with at least 20 years of records are reporting below-normal flows 

You can track the latest USGS drought reports here. 

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