South Florida: Uniquely Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise

South Florida: Uniquely Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise

Sea level rise presents major challenges to South Florida’s existing coastal water management system due
to a combination of increasingly urbanized areas, aging flood control facilities, flat topography, and porous limestone
aquifers. For instance, South Florida’s freshwater well field protection areas (left map: pink areas) lie
close to the current interface between saltwater and freshwater (red line), which will shift inland with rising sea
level, affectingwater managers’ ability to draw drinking water from current
resources. Coastal water control structures (right map: yellow circles) that were originally built about 60 years ago at
the ends of drainage canals to keep saltwater out and to provide flood protection to urbanized areas along the coast are now
threatened by sea level rise. Even today, residents in some areas such as Miami Beach are experiencing seawater flooding their
streets (lower photo). (Maps from The South Florida Water Management
District.0a764a80-1238-4980-a5e3-bdd348124cc4 Photo credit: Luis Espinoza,
Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources).

About this resource

Copyright
Free to use with credit to the original figure source.
Topics
Water Resources, Coasts, Cities & Infrastructure