Land & Environment

'Promising Options': USU Researcher Investigating Water Conservation Methods for Great Salt Lake

By Taylor Emerson |

Video by Taylor Emerson, Digital Journalist, University Marketing & Communications

In August, the Great Salt Lake State Park’s marina was closed due to low water levels. In late September, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Saltair Lake Elevation Gage could “no longer measure accurate water levels” for that same reason. These are both symptoms of the continued drying out of the Great Salt Lake, which also hit a record-low back in July.

As Utah’s ecological crisis continues, a USU researcher has been looking at water conservation methods that could present some “promising options” to shepherd water back to Utah's saline lake.

Associate Professor of Watershed Sciences Sarah Null has been investigating the potential for a “trading system” as one potential measure to be used. The concept would based on the idea where those who use less water could trade their “conservation credits” to those who use more in an effort to set a limit on water use overall.

Another focus area for Null is in the idea of “water banking,” which is based off of S.B. 26 passed in 2020, which has since allowed for a provisional testing of the idea of providing flexibility of water rights. This would allow willing parties to buy and sell water, so long as it stays within the same basin, according to Null. Within this concept, Null has been looking into “wet-year water transfers,” meaning in wet years people who have water rights might be willing to sell some or all of their water to buyers.


Taylor Emerson
Digital Journalist
University Marketing and Communications
(435) 797-2262


Sarah Null
Associate Professor
Department of Watershed Sciences


Water 219stories Conservation 75stories Great Salt Lake 26stories

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