Utah lawmakers consider filling the Great Salt Lake with water from the Pacific Ocean
Last week Utah's Legislative Water Development Commission held a session, during which lawmakers approved a list of initiatives to replenish water in the Great Salt Lake. And one of the projects proposed building a pipeline to carry water from the Pacific Ocean.
The commission greenlit the study to determine "the feasibility and cost of piping water from the ocean to help fill the Great Salt Lake". And during the meeting co-chair Senator David Hinkins (Republican) informed the esteemed colleagues:
There’s a lot of water in the ocean, and we have very little in the Great Salt Lake.
Last summer the Great Salt Lake hit the lowest level in its recorded history, and this year it could get even worse, as drought and low precipitation continues.
Though the project is possible in terms of engineering, the water would be travelling at least 600 miles from the Pacific Coast. Realistically, it will be much longer, moving around the Sierra Nevada and passing generally rough terrain. It is yet to be seen how expensive such an endeavor would cost, but last year a project to build a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea was abandoned after several delays. At that time it would have cost between $2 billion and $10 billion.
Despite challenges and high cost, a pipeline to support the Great Salt Lake will be commercially sound, as industries around the lake generates about $1.3 billion each year, and the lake is one of the most popular destinations among the tourists.
In the several next decades solutions like piping ocean water to the Great Salt Lake might become a norm, as humanity continue to face consequences of climate change.