The Great Salt Lake is shrinking rapidly, and Utah has failed to stop it, a lawsuit contends

“The risks of a diminished Great Salt Lake aren’t merely beached sailboats and wider shores; they also include species extinction and toxic dust clouds billowing over nearby communities, the lawsuit says.”

“The precipitous drop in water levels, which has shrunk the Great Salt Lake’s footprint by half over the past few decades, stems from a two-fold problem: Climate change has helped decimate the mountain streams that feed the lake, while demand for the streams’ fresh water has ballooned for new development, agriculture and industry.”

“Toxic chemicals — including arsenic, lead and mercury — are trapped in the lakebed. As more of the lakebed becomes exposed and dries, those chemicals are carried into the air by the wind. The consequent toxic dust storms could lower life expectancies, as well as heighten cancer and infant mortality rates, said Moench, citing past instances of lakes drying up across the world.”