Insurance Industry Watching Southeastern Florida Climate Change Response

Since Southeast Florida is facing climate change impacts sooner than most, adaptation is critical—and already underway. The insurance industry is pointing to Southeast Florida as an example for others to follow.

Managers in the South Florida Water Management District are using 400-horsepower pumps capable of changing the direction of the Miami River, ensuring that the river always runs toward the ocean. In Miami Beach, officials are installing 80 underground pumps to deal with the increasingly frequent “sunny-day floods” caused by peak high tides. In Miami-Dade County, a program is underway to reseed mangroves behind the beaches to preserve this wetlands’ ability to soak up storm surge.

Rising saltwater has also gotten into the drinking water, causing the city of Hallandale Beach to abandon six of its eight wells. When South Florida’s shallow freshwater aquifer is diminished—as occurs during the drier winter months—seawater easily flows in through the porous limestone below ground. City and county officials have learned the importance of keeping the aquifer full to maintain a healthy supply of freshwater. (2016)

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Partners: Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact, South Florida Water Management District, City of Miami Beach, Miami-Dade County