The Great Salt Lake Collaborative is a group of news, education and media organizations – including The Globe, Amplify Utah and student journalists at Salt Lake Community College – that have come together to better inform and engage the public about the crisis facing the Great Salt Lake.
The following story was originally published by Deseret News, a collaborative partner.
The endless winter storms that draped Utah’s watersheds in a canopy of white, breaking records, collapsing roofs and burying recreation sites also slightly dampened some of the concern Utah residents have over the Great Salt Lake.
A Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 74% of Utah residents remain concerned over the fate of the saline lake, while 27% are less concerned or not concerned at all. Dan Jones & Associates conducted the survey of 798 registered Utah voters May 22 to June 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percentage points.
That percentage of concern has dropped since last year, when the lake was struggling with historically low levels. At that time, 80% of residents voiced their concern over the lake, which is the largest saline lake in the Western Hemisphere.
Incoming Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed said the numbers are not surprising.
“I think there’s a tendency when we have a good water year for people to think that the problems are solved. Unfortunately on the Great Salt Lake, that one good water year was preceded by many, many bad water years, and so we got ourselves into something of a deficit with the Great Salt Lake,” Steed said. “We need to be mindful of that. In order to get out of that deficit, it is going to take more than one good year, so it’s not time for us to give up on water conservation.”