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Pink water washes over a Great Salt Lake salt crust in May. Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP

Utah's Great Salt Lake is in trouble, with serious ramifications for one of America's fastest-growing areas.

Why it matters: It's the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River and has been shrinking for years, with the mega-drought making it even worse, reports AP's Lindsay Whitehurst.

  • The lake’s levels are expected to hit a 170-year low this year.
  • Wildlife is suffering from the decline, especially birds and shrimp.
Visitors stand in the shallow waters in June. Photo: Rick Bowmer/AP

The waves have been replaced by dry, gravelly lakebed that’s grown to 750 square miles. Winds can whip up dust from the dry lakebed that is laced with naturally occurring arsenic.

Tourism is also at risk: The dust from the lakebed could speed up snowmelt at Utah's popular ski resorts.

  • And once-popular lakeside resorts are now long shuttered.
People swim at Saltair in 1933. The resort once drew sunbathers who would float like corks in the Great Salt Lake's extra salty waters. Photo: Salt Lake Tribune via AP

The bottom line: To maintain lake levels, diverting water from rivers that flow into it would have to decrease by 30%.

  • But for the state with the nation’s fastest-growing population, addressing the problem will require a major shift in how water is allocated.

Go deeper

California's Caldor Fire nears South Lake Tahoe: What you need to know

Flames consume multiple homes as the Caldor fire pushes into the Echo Summit area, California on Monday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

California firefighters worked into the night to try and stop the growing Caldor Fire from reaching the resort city of South Lake Tahoe, as evacuation orders were expanded to border communities in Nevada.

The latest: The wildfire had grown to more than 199,600 acres and was 18% contained, as it threatened almost 34,000 homes and other structures in the area, per the Sacramento Bee.

California governor declares drought emergency for entire state

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speakinng to reporters in Los Angeles in September. Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) extended a drought emergency declaration to cover the entire state on Tuesday.

Why it matters: "California is experiencing its worst drought since the late 1800s, as measured by both lack of precipitation and high temperatures," per a statement from the governor's office. This past August was the driest and hottest one on record, "and the water year that ended last month was the second driest on record," the statement added.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate panel will recommend President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with "crimes against humanity," alleging his COVID-19 pandemic response led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, per the New York Times and the Washington Post.

The latest: The lawmakers initially said Bolsonaro should be charged with mass homicide and genocide, but lawmakers updated the report to replace these recommendations with the new charge, its lead author, Sen. Renan Calheiros, told the NYT.