This article addresses the impact of sea level rise to coastal wastewater infrastructure, existing guidance, as well as the need for integrated management efforts to meet the challenges ahead. It was written by Kimberly Leefatt and originally published by The Water Report on July 15, 2019, Issue #185.
As with most climate change initiatives, California is uniquely positioned in the sea level rise adaptation experiment. With over 3,000 miles of diverse tidal coastline, California is one of the states expected to be most affected by sea level rise. According to the California Fourth Climate Change Assessment, sea level rise could cause over $17 billion in damage to residential and commercial buildings by 2100. While sea-side homes and commercial attractions are the most obvious casualties, sea level rise’s impact to coastal wastewater infrastructure stands to have an exponentially greater effect on Californians living both inland and on the coast.