Wells and aquifers in Fort Lauderdale are being contaminated by salt water, making south Florida something of the “canary in the coal mine” for what other coastal areas may experience, independent videographer Peter Sinclair reports in his current “This is Not Cool” Yale Climate Connections video.
That salt-water intrusion extends about six miles inland, Broward County Commissioner Kristin Jacobs says, and wells to the east of that line “have been lost.”
Florida Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson asks rhetorically about likely difficulties in financing a 99-year lease “on a high-rise building that in 50 years is going to have a foot more of sea-level rise.” And a Union of Concerned Scientists’ representative says that even using moderate projections of future sea-level rise, low-lying areas will experience moderate floods simply because of high tides … no storm activity or strong winds needed. “That was pretty startling to us, that you could have those extensive floods with no storm activity,” says Melanie Fitzpatrick, PhD.
A giant sea wall like those for New Orleans and the Netherlands is no option, Associated Press correspondent Tony Winton reports, infeasible for south Florida because, as an urban planner explains, “our ground system is porous limestone. It’s a kind of fossilized sponge.”
Pointing to climate change as a major factor contributing to the projected sea-level rise, the University of Colorado’s Jim White, PhD, refers to “the phenomenon whose name must not be said,” adding that state policy forbids state employees from using the term climate change. He points to some home owners associations’ rules precluding residents’ mitigation efforts and says he sees a litigious future in which realtors and mortgage companies are frequently being sued by residents…. with “lawyers” the only real winners.