Florida Water Management and Adaptation in the Face of Climate Change

A series of white papers have been prepared by the State University System (SUS) of Florida Universities regarding realized and predicted climate change impacts, with this report specifically addressing water resources and adaptation issues across Florida. The primary objectives of this report are: (1) to identify Florida’s water resources and water-related infrastructure that are vulnerable to climate change; (2) show demographics in the state that are vulnerable to climate change impacts with a focus on water resources and sea level rise; and (3) highlight some of the alternative technologies currently being used to solve water resource supply issues in the state that are likely to expand and be challenged under various scenarios of climate change.

Florida ranks sixth in the nation for groundwater use, using more groundwater than any other state east of the Mississippi. Meanwhile, it is predicted that by the year 2025, Florida’s population will increase by 57% and water consumption 30%. The direct effects of climate change on water resources include increased threats on the sustainability of water supplies, flooding, salt water intrusion in coastal areas from sea level rise, and threats to water quality.

This report addresses Florida's current water use, and current water sources, followed by a discussion of some of the most significant climate change impacts on water resources.  The impacts of sea-level rise, flood control, the energy costs of water management, and Florida's water policies and regulations are each described in detail. The report also focuses on population growth trends, and vulnerability of various demographics within the state. 

Results of this research find that groundwater resources are inadequate now to meet future water demand in many parts of the state, and climate change adds to the vulnerability of groundwater supplies and uncertainty of supply and demand; therefore the development of alternative water supplies is a priority.  The conclusion states that the "most important take-away from this synthesis is that different areas of the state will require unique regional solutions that will take time, many decades in some cases, to implement."



Publication Date: November 2011

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Leonard Berry
  • Frederick Bloetscher
  • Nicole Hernandez Hammer
  • Marguerite Koch-Rose
  • Diana Mitsova-Boneva
  • Jorge Restrepo
  • Tara Root
  • Ramesh Teegavarapu

Related Organizations:

  • State University System (SUS) of Florida Universities


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:


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