Miami and south Florida are ground zero for serious sea-level rise due to climate change. But if rising levels of of salty seawater and heavier rain events infiltrate the Biscayne Aquifer — Miami’s essential drinking water source — then the survival of entire city is at risk.
Rising seas are a well know threat to Miami real estate, with a recent Zillow analysis estimating that six feet of sea-level rise could submerge one-quarter of its homes and strand $200 billion-worth of real estate.
Equally as threatening to Miami’s viability is the health of their drinking water source because the permeability of the aquifer causes more vulnerability. There are many possible contaminants that could foul the freshwater, including toxic chemicals from Superfund sites, limestone mines, sewage from septic tanks and saltwater intruding from the seas.
Leaders and residents of Miami are aware of these watery threats, but questions remain about how many people in the future will be able to live in the great metropolis, and at what cost?