Overdraft, Saltwater Intrusion Strain the Floridan Aquifer

December 14, 2010 • Water, United States, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Joyce Tarnow for this article.

Excessive withdrawals are forcing communities from South Carolina to Florida to look elsewhere for water.

The Hilton Head Public Service District, which provides water and sewer service to a South Carolina island resort community, announced last week that it was shutting down one of its wells because saltwater had soured the supply. It became the sixth of the district’s dozen wells to be sealed in the last decade due to saltwater displacing fresh groundwater, signaling a potentially dangerous new trend for the water supply of millions of people in the Southeast.

“This is just the start of it,” the district’s general manager Richard Cyr told Circle of Blue. Cyr expects another two wells to be spoiled in the next year and all the wells to close by 2020, as salt water plumes move inland. “We are the canary in the coal mine for the coastal area. This is a regional issue. Anyone using the Floridan Aquifer is subject to these threats.”

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