“A lot us have been talking about the lake as flatlining,” said Lynn de Freitas, executive director of Friends of the Great Salt Lake, to the AP.
Per The Associated Press, the lake is expected to reach a 170-year low, which comes as a major drought impacts the Western United States. That’s on top of a wildfire season that has already created fires across Utah and the other Western states.
But the Great Salt Lake has faced several other challenges, too. This has been an ongoing issue as questions have been raised about whether the lake will eventually become dust.
The Deseret News has reported that the Great Salt Lake’s volume has dropped 50% overall, and the lake is drying up quickly.
“For the Great Salt Lake, though, it is only the latest challenge. People for years have been diverting water from rivers that flow into the lake to water crops and supply homes. Because the lake is shallow — about 35 feet (11 meters) at its deepest point — less water quickly translates to receding shorelines,” The Associated Press reports.
To fix the lake, experts are hoping to implement new water legislation and conservation strategies.
“These things are going to take a long time to unfold,” said Steve Clyde, director of Clyde Snow Attorneys at Law and co-chairman of Natural Resources and Water Law Practice Group, according to the Deseret News. “It takes about two to three years of really working through the community and helping people to want to buy in.”