Op-Ed Cites Population Boom in Utah as Cause of Drought


Op-Ed Cites Population Boom in Utah as Cause of Drought

Published on August 6th, 2022

Back in June, we blogged about an extensive report published in the New York Times that called the Utah drought an “environmental nuclear bomb” for the Wasatch Front region.

In our blog, we wrote that the Great Salt Lake had already shrunk by two thirds and was continuing to rapidly diminish its water supply.

As a result it was causing entire ecosystems to die, destroying businesses, and was even turning the air poisonous.

That’s quite a combination of disastrous events. The Times report directly mentioned that the overpopulation of the region is a root cause of this catastrophe.

It looks like others in the region are taking notice.

A new op-ed published in the Desert News cited the population boom in Utah as a root cause of the massive environmental problems the region is experiencing.

As Utah’s population grows and climate continues to change, more dependence is put on our many ecosystem services. As demand increases, so does the need for clean and reliable water supplies. In Utah, population growth is booming, making it vitally important to work together to stretch the water supply.

The op-ed was authored by Rachel Shilton, who works as a manager at the Utah Division of Water Resources. Her bio stated she is a professional engineer with decades of experience in environmental management.

Shilton took a balanced approach and stuck to the facts about what’s happening in Utah with respect to the environment. She believes that better land management and an emphasis on the active preservation of watersheds can help mitigate the effects of this situation.

As individuals, we need to make sure we’re conserving water in our homes and yards, and as a community we need to support active land management of our public lands and watersheds. Actively managing our public lands will provide greater value to everyone who benefits from their existence now and into the future.

It’s nice to see people taking notice of the problem and outlining practical solutions.

With that said, there’s no getting around the fact that overpopulation is the root cause of this problem.

Without addressing that issue, the Wasatch Front region may be doomed to a similar fate as Owens Lake in California.

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