Terra Daily: As sea levels rise, coastal communities could lose up to 50 percent more of their fresh water supplies than previously thought, according to a new study from
Scientists previously assumed that, as saltwater moved inland, it would penetrate underground only as far as it did above ground. But this new research shows that when saltwater and fresh water meet, they mix in complex ways, depending on the texture of the sand along the coastline. In some cases, a zone of mixed, or brackish, water can extend 50 percent further inland underground than it does above ground.
Like saltwater, brackish water is not safe to drink because it causes dehydration. Water that contains less than 250 milligrams of salt per liter is considered fresh water and safe to drink. Motomu Ibaraki, associate professor of earth sciences at
"Most people are probably aware of the damage that rising sea levels can do above ground, but not underground, which is where the fresh water is,"
Scientists have used the IPCC reports to draw maps of how the world's coastlines will change as waters rise, and they have produced some of the most striking images of the potential consequences of climate change.
..."In order to obtain cheap water for everybody, we need to use groundwater, river water, or lake water,"