The densely populated megalopolis of South Florida is losing it's water wells as sea water intrudes into the Biscayne Aquifer. Salt water has already moved 6 miles inland in Broward County and is likely to continue to creep westward. Ninety percent of South Florida gets its drinking water from underground supplies, most from the Biscayne aquifer. This inland movement observed in Broward County is due to urban withdrawals from the Biscayne Aquifer, ocean water moving sideways into the aquifer and seepage of saltwater from surface sources.
Governor Scott, this is threatening the habitability of a region of close to 6 million of your fellow Floridians. Your inaction and hostility towards climate issues and sustainability now threatens funds and other aid from FEMA as they will not give money to any state that does not plan for climate change. Where is the disaster relief going to come from if not from Federal sources?
A report titled Climate Change AND Sea-Level Rise IN Florida notes the hellish calamity that will affect Florida's urban populations, economy, ecosystems and coasts.
What we know.
Florida‘s Biscayne Aquifer, the principal water supply to southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys, is recharged by rainfall and the freshwater Everglades. Surficial coastal aquifers are already experiencing saltwater intrusion. Rising sea level will increase the hydraulic backpressure on coastal aquifers, reduce groundwater flow toward the ocean, and cause the saltwater front to move inland, thus threatening to contaminate water-supply wells in coastal areas with seawater. In the low-lying southernmost Everglades, sea-level rise will cause brackish waters to encroach farther
What is Probable.
The Pensacola Bay and St. Johns River watersheds and southern Florida from Palm Beach to Miami, the Florida Keys, Naples, and Fort Myers are especially vulnerable to saltwater intrusion into municipal freshwater supplies as sea levels rise (Dausman and Langevin, 2005; Freed et al., 2005; Murley et al., 2008).
The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan’s main purpose is to increase freshwater flow to the southern Everglades. This will help offset the effect of sea-level rise and help preserve Everglades ecologies and southern Florida’s water supply (South Florida Water Management District, 2009a). The South Florida Water Management District already spends millions of dollars per year to prevent Miami’s Biscayne Aquifer from becoming brackish (Miller et al., 1989). Rising sea level will cause groundwater near the coast to become more saline and groundwater levels to increase.
As sea level continues to rise, these effects will increase the extent of saltwater intrusion especially during periods of drought and the dry winter/spring
season (Heimlich et al., 2009).
Sea-level rise of 15 centimeters (about 6 inches) and more will require implementing adaptation strategies such as water conservation, wastewater reuse, recovery and recharge, stormwater storage, alternative water supplies including desalination,
and other advanced water-management strategies in order to assure adequate water supplies (Heimlich et al., 2009).
If the saline waterfront moves far enough north, it could contaminate the headwaters of the Biscayne Aquifer and southern Miami-Dade County’s water supply Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007; Heimlich et al., 2009; Karl et al.,
This contamination would increase the salt content of leakage into sewer collection systems and complicate wastewater treatment operations. Water and wastewater treatment facilities that are located at low elevations in coastal regions may be subject to more frequent flooding during spring tides and storm surges (Bloetscher et al., 2009).
Interior regional hydrologic systems of Florida should not be significantly affected (Trimble et al., 1998).
Municipal sewer systems will have to be tightened to significantly reduce groundwater seepage in order to protect wastewater treatment operations (Bloetscher et al., 2009).
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