The water levels in the southern part of Utah’s Great Salt Lake have dropped to a historic low on Saturday, raising concerns as a megadrought grips the region.
The U.S. Geological Survey announced that the average daily water levels of the lake had dropped about an inch below the previous record of 4,191.4 feet (1,278 meters) above sea level which was recorded back in 1963.
The new record arrived months earlier than when the lake typically hits its lowest level of the year.
Candice Hasenyager, the deputy director of Utah’s Division of Water Resources, said that this early drop in eater levels indicated that it could continue to drop even further and it is “really alarming.”
Ryan Rowland, data chief at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Utah Water Science Center, said that there are still months left for the lake’s typical dry season which generally stretches from June through the fall.
“We think we could drop another foot to a foot and a half,” said Rowland.
The megadrought gripping the Western U.S. has aggravated the recent declines in Great Salt Lake’s water levels.
U.S. Drought Monitor released its latest report stating that more than 99% of Utah is under “extreme” drought conditions. Almost 70% of the state is experiencing “exceptional” drought, the highest category.
Hasenyager added that human activity has been one of the biggest contributors to the lake’s receding water levels because of increased water consumption for farming, mineral extraction, and support for the municipal and industrial sectors.
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