5.3 Impact on coastal water supplies

Rising sea level increases the salinity of both surface water and ground water through salt water intrusion. If sea level rise pushes salty water upstream, then the existing water intakes might draw on salty water during dry periods. Salinity increases in estuaries also can harm aquatic plants and animals that do not tolerate high salinity. Shallow coastal aquifers are also at risk (IPCC, 2007). As rising water levels submerge low-lying portions of the coastal areas, portions of the aquifers would become saline.

All the mentioned impacts of sea level rise can cause human loss due to increased level of storm surges, socio-economic losses of coastal communities as well as impact on national economies, environmental problems such as loss of wetlands, dunes and associated ecosystem habitats and loss of cultural heritage due to inundation of these sites (http://epa.gov/climatechange/effects/coastal/index.html).