The decade of the 1980s was a period of great economic instability and demographic change, bringing tremendous challenges to Governor Bangerter. Within a year of entering office, Bangerter had to address the problem of the rising Great Salt Lake, the result of several consecutive years of heavy rainfall. He built a large pump station that pumped the water onto the west desert. The $60 million project reduced the level of the lake and helped protect the state's vital interstate highway systems, the airport, and municipal waste water treatment plants while providing a sense of security to several large lake businesses for the future. Decreased rainfall in the following years, however, left many Utah taxpayers feeling that the money for the pumps had been ill-spent.