In Utah of late it seems that water has been both everywhere and nowhere at once. For the past two decades our state and much of the American West has been locked in a “mega-drought,” the region's worst in 1,200 years. At the same time, unprecedented population growth and the increasingly impossible-to-ignore effects of climate change have pushed the West toward the brink. The crisis on the Colorado River—where in late December 2022, Lake Powell stood at 23 percent of capacity and Lake Mead at around 28 percent—portends both painful cutbacks for water users and years of legal and political battles to come.1 Meanwhile, declining water levels on Great Salt Lake have exposed hundreds of square miles of playa, creating toxic dust storms that imperil human health, and threatening catastrophic impacts for the migratory birds, brine shrimp, and other species that depend on the lake's ecosystem. That is the...

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