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Opinion: We need to start calling this drought what it really is

When we call this a ‘historic drought,’ we don’t put ourselves in the right mindset to combat climate change

SHARE Opinion: We need to start calling this drought what it really is
Exposed lake bed of the Great Salt Lake with mountains in the far distance.

Exposed lake bed is pictured near Willard Spur as the Great Salt Lake experiences record low water levels on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Low water levels threaten to expose the lake bed and lead to dust storms that would carry toxic metals to Salt Lake City.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

On Oct. 10, the Deseret News published the article “A dusty tale in California and words of wisdom for Utah as the Great Salt Lake shrinks” about the shrinking of the Great Salt Lake and the dangers that this situation presents. 

The news item mentioned how the Utah State leaders are concerned about what is going on. I have two suggestions to our state leaders if they really want to make a positive contribution to solving the problem. 

First, stop using the term “historic drought.” This is climate change, and saying historic drought gives the false hope that the weather will return to historic normals soon. It will lead to poor decisions and legislation. 

Second, take action to stop population growth along the Wasatch Front. Growing population and business growth will result in even more water being diverted from the Great Salt Lake to other uses. That means shutting down the Economic Development Tax Increment Financing program which gives tax incentives to companies to locate and/or expand in Utah. This needs to be done ASAP.

If the Great Salt Lake completely dries up, it will be the largest environmental disaster in the history of the United States. Do our state leaders really want to be remembered for that?

David Callister