Image of New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy by Master Sgt. Mark Olsen
Salinity and Protection of Drinking Water Supply
This research project assesses the effect of climate change and sea level rise on increasing salinity of drinking water supplies along the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts of the United States. As a result of climate change, sea levels are projected to rise a conservative estimate of two to three feet by 2050, although this varies place by place. This, along with increased pumping of groundwater sources, will result in (and already is resulting in) saltwater intrusion in both surface water and groundwater. We are studying projected sea level rise along thirteen states from New Jersey to Texas and identifying drinking water sources that may be at risk due to saline intrusion.
Through this project, PennPraxis Design Fellows hope to gain a better understanding of how much of the country’s southeastern drinking water supply is at risk due to climate change. We also hope to understand how many of these supplies are in smaller, at-risk communities that may benefit from establishing collaborative water management authorities.