Effect of Sea-Level Rise on Salt Water Intrusion near a Coastal Well Field in Southeastern Florida


U.S. Geological Survey, 411 National Center, Reston, VA 20192; 703-648-4169; fax: 703-648-6693; langevin@usgs.gov


A variable-density groundwater flow and dispersive solute transport model was developed for the shallow coastal aquifer system near a municipal supply well field in southeastern Florida. The model was calibrated for a 105-year period (1900 to 2005). An analysis with the model suggests that well-field withdrawals were the dominant cause of salt water intrusion near the well field, and that historical sea-level rise, which is similar to lower-bound projections of future sea-level rise, exacerbated the extent of salt water intrusion. Average 2005 hydrologic conditions were used for 100-year sensitivity simulations aimed at quantifying the effect of projected rises in sea level on fresh coastal groundwater resources near the well field. Use of average 2005 hydrologic conditions and a constant sea level result in total dissolved solids (TDS) concentration of the well field exceeding drinking water standards after 70 years. When sea-level rise is included in the simulations, drinking water standards are exceeded 10 to 21 years earlier, depending on the specified rate of sea-level rise.