Royal Palm Visitor Center

Salty Drinking Water?

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A Saltier Source

Most of the 5 million people in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Florida Keys, and Palm Beach drink water from the Biscayne Aquifer. The aquifer is the ground water flowing through the limestone and sandy soils of south Florida. It’s just a few feet underground. And it’s getting saltier.

A cross-section of the beach shows how saltwater pushes inland underground while freshwater pushed seaward.

As water is pulled out of the Biscayne Aquifer for public water, agriculture, or industry, it pulls salt water in from the ocean to take its place. The pressure of sea level rise also pushes salt water into the aquifer—at an increasing rate.

Saltwater Intrusion

The Biscayne Aquifer near Miami

Slide through the maps to see how salt water has encroached into the Biscayne Aquifer over the last 100 years.


Grab and slide the handle above.

"Sea level rise is our reality in Miami Beach."- Philip Levine, Miami Beach Mayor

Sea Level Rise at the Everglades

See how the restoration of the Everglades will help us mitigate sea level rise.

Flooded by the Tide

In south Florida, you can find streets flooded on sunny days—due to sea level rise.

Looking out of the front of a car, the road is covered in inches of water. Several cars merge lanes. The street light is out. A bus travels over an overpass. In the background, below a green highway sign for the airport, a white car is in water up to the middle of the tires.

In Miami when tidewaters rise up through the drainage system and combine with storms, flooding causes traffic jams. And it’s happening more and more often. (Photo by Gui Carvalho.)

Ocean waves break away concrete sections of the road, while tall buildings line the opposite side.

In Fort Lauderdale, tidal flooding combined with storm surge eroded the beach and crushed highway A1A. (Photo by Robert Gordano)