Development of an Adaptation Toolbox to Protect Southeast Florida Water Supplies from Climate Change

This project was performed to create a toolbox of options that southeast Florida utilities could pursue to meet water management needs, as well as the toolbox may have wider application to other coastal communities. This paper creates the connection between sustainable water supplies and Everglades restoration, outlines potential effects of sea level rise scenarios for coastal southeast Florida, and provides the toolbox of adaptation options for water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities.  Also included are milestones to trigger infrastructure investments, as climate changes may occur more rapidly or more slowly than currently projected.

The report's recommendations include an array of tools to protect water resources from climate change impacts. Each are described in detail as well as Table 2 summarizes these tools. Examples include: installation of  local stormwater pumping; water conservation; armoring the sewer system; wastewater reclamation and reuse; aquifer recharge; protection of existing water sources; desalination; aquifer storage and recovery; and regionalization of alternative water supplies and reclamation projects. 

Four utilities in Broward County, Florida (one large, two medium, and one small) were evaluated according to the toolbox, based on the authors' familiarity and prior work with the utilities. All four utilities are similarly situated along the southeast Florida coast, treat predominantly fresh water, and are primarily retail providers, but are of different sizes and service areas. Table 3 outlines each tool's benefits and barriers for each of the participating utilities. Cost estimates for each utility to harden its water supply infrastructure and protect its residents from the impacts of sea level rise were evaluated.




Publication Date: October 14, 2011

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Frederick Bloetscher
  • Barry Heimlich
  • Daniel E. Meeroff

Related Organizations:

  • Florida Atlantic University (FAU)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Scenario planning

States Affected:


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