The Other Source of Sea Level Rise

New studies reveal that water consumption worldwide may be contributing to sea level rise as dramatically as melting land ice. Freshwater from the world’s aquifers is being pumped for human use, channeled into agriculture and municipal wells—and ultimately into rivers and then oceans. Sea level expert Robert Nicholls of the University of Southampton in England said that climate change will remain the significant driver of sea level rise. But even if society managed to mitigate climate issues, burgeoning ground water consumption would contribute to sea level rise. While reservoirs have so far offset freshwater flowing into the world’s ocean, aquifer systems have caused sea level rise at an average rate of one millimeter per year since 1961.

Read more at The Guardian.

Drying Times

Florida continues to experience low annual rainfall, the only source of water to replenish the Floridan aquifer. This deep underground storage tank supplies 90 percent of Floridians with fresh water for drinking, manufacturing, growing food, sprinkling on lush landscaping, washing cars and clothes, and filling swimming pools.

Is it in peril?

Floridians might take note of two Texas towns that have run out of water. More than 1000 towns in Texas have water restrictions and 17 are considered critical in terms of water supplies. A recent PBS News Hour story reported the following:

“Topping that list is the town of Spicewood Beach, a community of 500 homes on the shores of Lake Travis near Austin. Spicewood relies on wells fed by water from both the lake and the aquifer below the town. Too much water use and too little rainfall last year caused the water table to sink to historic lows. This January, Spicewood Beach became the first Texas town to run out of water.”

There are lots of ways to save water. Cities and counties all over Florida have materials and programs to help Floridians conserve water, fix leaks, and find water savings appliances. Check out information on Web pages for your local government or utility or go to the water management districts Web page to find a link to your district.