SALT LAKE CITY — The Southern portion of the Great Salt Lake dropped to a new historic low on Saturday, breaking the previous record set in 1963, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Data collected at the SaltAir gauge location showed average daily water levels dropped about an inch below the previous record,
“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 in a press release. “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.”
Average daily values are used to provide the most accurate measurement of water levels, since wind and other weather events can cause temporary changes in lake levels.
The previous record was set in 1963 at 4,194 feet. On Tuesday, July 20, water levels tied the previous record.
“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 in a press release. “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 Great Salt Lake has seen a decline in water levels over the past few decades that have been triggered by growth in Utah, climate change and drought.