As South Florida raises groundwater levels to fight saltwater intrusion, the threat of inland flooding will only increase, according to newly published research results. Although high groundwater levels in South Florida are a major contributor to inland floods, especially during the wet season or extreme rain events, traditional flood models don’t account for the groundwater beneath our feet, scientists have found. Now, hydrologist Michael Sukop of Florida International University and colleagues have released a model that points to South Florida’s groundwater policies as a cause of the region’s flooding. South Florida protects its drinking water sources from saltwater intrusion by keeping groundwater levels high. As sea level rises, groundwater levels may need to be raised even higher, which could cause yet more flooding, Sukop said.
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