A new bill on the table to “save” the GSL – but is it practical?
A new bill was introduced by Senator Mitt Romney, and in the House by Utah Representatives Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens regarding the Great Salt Lake. The bill is touted as a rescue effort, titled The Great Salt Lake Recovery Act. Some advocacy groups however, such as The Great Salt Lake Institute and Save Our Great Salt Lake, are expressing concerns about the proposed solutions the bill aims to assess.
The bill requests $10 million from the federal government to study drought conditions and saline lakes in the Great Basin. “Additionally, the bill would support the investigation of alternative ways to funnel water to the lake, including pipelines, coastal desalination plants and canal reinforcement” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. Advocacy groups are wary of the “alternative ways” suggested in this legislation.
Water conservation is the most immediate and practical solution to slow the decline caused by the drought. This commitment must be made at the industrial and personal level. Preserving water for where it is really needed, slowing unnecessary development, and nixing projects like the proposed mine in Parley’s canyon, that would use an irresponsible amount of water, are all first steps that should be taken. Unfortunately, there is no magical fix to solve this problem. It takes real work and shifts in the status quo.
The shrinking of the Great Salt Lake has made national news a few times recently. The drought conditions are drawing attention due to recent findings of arsenic and other heavy metals in the lake-bed from centuries of mining activity. As the lake dries and shrinks, the lake-bed is exposed, and eventually blows toxic dust into local neighborhoods, causing very serious health concerns for residents. Comparisons have been drawn between the Great Salt Lake’s situation and California’s Owens Lake, which dried and created a public health and environmental disaster. We urge government officials and local residents, to listen to the message from Owens Lake. The Great Salt Lake is MUCH larger and is already creating an extremely serious crisis. We don’t need a magic wand or impractical pipeline. We need real and practical water conservation prioritized over industry revenues.