As climate change continues to cause sea level rise, some regions will experience saltwater intrusions into their drinking water supplies. When drinking water supplies get too salty, they are no longer drinkable and it costs huge amounts of money and resources to find solutions.
Water resource managers and public officials are concerned that when rivers are low during drought, those that empty into bays and oceans might not have enough freshwater volume to keep higher levels of saltwater from pushing upstream into drinking supplies. This scenario is playing out in the Delaware River basin, a river from which millions of residents of Philadelphia and the surrounding region draw their drinking water. Philadelphia is not alone, as places as far flung as Miami and parts of Bangladesh foresee such problems. Not only are rivers affected, but coastal areas that use groundwater as drinking water supplies can also experience saltwater intrusion from rising seas entering from underground.
One idea to deal with sea level rise intrusions include releasing more more water from upstream reservoirs to maintain higher water volumes to push out downstream saltwater. There are other options like constructing desalination plants, increasing reservoir storage, reducing water withdrawals by power plants and industrial users, and moving drinking intakes farther upstream. In all these cases, the climate change adaptations.available take planning and are more or less costly depending the severity, infrastructure and technology involved.