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How Saltwater Intrusion Affects Coastal Area Homes

Thinking of buying a home near the beach? A large portion of the world’s population lives near the ocean’s shore and since groundwater is the main source of drinking water in most areas, saltwater intrusion becomes a concern for a large number of people.

Salterwater Infusion

Groundwater naturally flows from inland through aquifers (body of rock and sediment that water can easily pass through) towards the ocean, and this natural flow helps prevent the sea water from entering the aquifer systems. The boundary between freshwater and salt water is not distinct (this is the zone of dispersion) and the waters mix, forming a hydrologic barrier. But with saltwater intrusion, the ocean water begins to move more inland and intrudes into freshwater.

Saltwater intrusion can be caused by many factors such as precipitation, surface runoff, crop irrigation, temperature and climate changes, well water pumping and more. With saltwater intrusion, the groundwater depletes faster than it is replaced. When the groundwater is depleted it also empties our wells, causing salt water to enter into the groundwater which diminishes the availability and quality of our drinking water and pollutes our water for crops.

Salterwater Infusion

We have tried different methods of water treatment, such as building flood walls, developing injection wells, barrier wells, deep recharge wells (that create groundwater ridges), pipelines with supplemental water, crystallization technologies and aquifer storage and recovery systems. We are also creating and evaluating laws for cleaner water, energy laws and regulations and taking conservation measures.

While most incidents of saltwater intrusion occur in coastal regions creating risks in owning shoreline properties, it can also affect areas inland. Therefore, measures should be considered to protect our homes, our people and our lives in all areas where saltwater intrusion can occur.

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