Great Salt Lake Basin Integrated Plan Open House

Great Salt Lake Basin Integrated Plan Open House

Published 12-05-23

Informational open house Dec. 7

SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 5, 2023) – Upon completion of the draft Work Plan for the Great Salt Lake Basin Integrated Plan, the Utah Division of Water Resources, in collaboration with the Bureau of Reclamation, will be holding a virtual open house on Thursday, Dec. 7. 

“The Great Salt Lake is a unique and precious resource for the state of Utah. We recognize its vital role in our environment, economy and culture,” said the Division of Water Resources Director Candice Hasenyager. “This plan is a significant step toward addressing the complex challenges we face in preserving and protecting this remarkable natural wonder.”

The Work Plan will guide the development of the Great Salt Lake Basin Integrated Assessment, which the Utah Legislature mandated in 2022 (HB429). HB429 appropriated $5 million to the Division of Water Resources to better understand how much water is necessary to ensure the health and sustainability of the Great Salt Lake, people and the environment throughout the basin. Reclamation has also allocated $3.1 million for a Great Salt Lake Basin Study. With similar objectives aimed at better understanding the complex water supply and demand in the Great Salt Lake Basin, these two projects have merged to become the Great Salt Lake Basin Integrated Plan. 

“I’ve lived near the Great Salt Lake most of my life, and it’s gratifying to see this federal and state partnership come together to address the extraordinary challenges of the aridification of the Great Salt Lake Basin,” said Reclamation’s Upper Colorado Basin Regional Director Wayne Pullan.

The ultimate goal of the Great Salt Lake Integrated Basin Plan is to ensure a resilient water supply for the Great Salt Lake and all water uses, including people and the environment, throughout the watershed. This will be accomplished through:

  • Assessing the current surface and groundwater supply in the Great Salt Lake Basin
  • Forecasting future water demands
  • Investigating potential benefits of forest management and watershed restoration
  • Coordinating efforts to quantify and incorporate demand into the water supply and demand model
  • Identifying and evaluating best management practices to provide a reliable water supply
  • Analyzing the trade-offs in relation to impacts on water users throughout the basin and avoiding deterioration of agriculture, industry and ecosystems
  • Recommending actionable strategies for the holistic management of water resources

The recent appointment of Tim Davis as the Great Salt Lake Deputy Commissioner signifies a strategic move toward bolstering their decision-making capabilities. The Work Plan will identify additional tools that the Commissioner’s Office will use to implement the Great Salt Lake Strategic plan which will be finalized in January.

“In our pursuit of preserving the Great Salt Lake, we recognize that good data not only guides decisions but also serves as the bedrock for sustainable policies that will benefit our community and environment,” said the Great Salt Lake Commissioner Brian Steed.

You can learn more about the collective project, subscribe for updates and review the Work Plan at GSLBasinPlan.utah.gov

Virtual Public Open House

Date: Thursday, Dec. 7

Time: 6 – 8 p.m. (Media availability: 5:30 p.m.)

YouTube Live Stream: https://youtube.com/live/1bj1ZXpZpNI

For more information, contact Michael Sanchez, public information officer, at 385-226-8967 or msanchez@utah.gov.

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The Utah Division of Water Resources is one of 10 divisions housed within the Department of Natural Resources. Tasked with planning, conserving, developing and protecting Utah’s water resources, the division serves as Utah’s water steward.

In 2023, the Utah Legislature created the Office of the Great Salt Lake Commissioner. The Commissioner has been tasked with developing and maintaining a strategic plan as well as coordinating collaborative work amongst all agencies and interests in relation to the lake. The Commissioner also holds authority to require a state agency to act, or refrain from acting, in order to protect the Great Salt Lake.

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