Sea-Level Rise Readiness
Sea level rise is an existential threat to the function of many of our most critical systems, like wastewater, drinking water, and energy.
Possibly the world’s most expensive problem, strategic investments must urgently be made to safeguard our ability to continue to live in South Florida – and to prevent additional pollution.
Sea level rise affects water pollution in many ways. It’s not just about the level of the ocean, but also what’s going on underground. In Florida, we have porous limestone geology, with fresh water moving through the holes in the ground (called an “aquifer”) just a few feet below the surface. Sea level rise makes ground water even higher, which can flood septic fields and cause intrusion into sewer pipes, triggering sewage spills. Sea level rise is also changing the way our stormwater system functions, creating more flooding and – by extension – more water pollution. Sea level rise also means that salt water is pushing into the groundwater, making our fresh water aquifer turn salty in some areas. This salt water can affect our drinking water, which is stored in the aquifer below ground.