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Letter: The Great Salt Lake doesn’t have to shrink. These solutions can help

Low water levels at the Great Salt Lake Marina near Magna are pictured on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

In my six decades of traveling back and forth between Utah and California visiting family, I’ve watched the Great Salt Lake ebb and flow, but the trajectory has always been ebb. As your editorial (“One of America’s most famous lakes is disappearing. Utah’s next governor can help,” Nov. 15) correctly mentioned, Utah’s population growth and accompanying irrigated landscape is steadily eroding the lake’s ability to sustain all the diverse benefits Utah receives from that giant water body. But it doesn’t have to trend that direction.

Other western states have adopted residential “showers to flowers” laws and codes that provide landscape water through underground drip irrigation. Those small water recycling systems reduce wastewater and its costly treatment and disruptive discharges, decrease irrigation runoff pollution that accompanies sprinkler irrigation and save on water pumping costs. When Utah’s Legislature looked at this type of water reuse in 2003, the subsequent code killed the idea for Utahns.

Being in the water reuse industry, I can tell you the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already determined these systems are safe, cost effective and qualified for federal co-funding. With a new governor that is open to proven new ideas, he’d do well to examine what other states have done and see how residential water reuse can help Utah homes stay green while Utah grows.

Stephen Bilson

Newbury Park, California