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Beaches in L.A. Moving Inland: Rising Seas Via Global Warming Mean Drinking Water Problems

Why go to the beach when the beach will come to you? Literally. Slowly: A fraction of an inch at a time.

A new report says that by the mid point of this decade sea level will be a foot and a half higher. That, in our view, could be devastating to the way-too-close-to-the-beach development in Malibu and to other parts of the L.A. County coastline, like Marina Del Rey and the low-lying community of Venice. (Think of those winter-storm days with high tides, big waves and another foot or so of water level).

But that's not the half of it. The Natural Resources Defense Council this week made some scary projections about the effects of global warming in L.A. in the coming years:

Sea level rise projections along the California coast relative to 2000 level ranges from 12 to 18 inches by 2050 , and could rise as much as 20 to 55 inches by 2100.
Beaches in L.A. Moving Inland: Rising Seas Via Global Warming Mean Drinking Water Problems
Mike Baird

The big concern, here, however, is not David Geffen's Malibu house (sorry, Dave). The NRDC report, "Thirsty for Answers: Preparing for the Water-related Impacts of Climate Change in American Cities," says it's all about your drinking water.

If seawater rises at that rate, it could infect freshwater aquifers that supply our taps. According to an NRDC statement:

Low-lying Venice and MDR.
Low-lying Venice and MDR.
Aquifers in the area, where water is already withdrawn at a higher rate than the recharge rate, are likely to experience an increase in saltwater intrusion as a result of sea level rise. It also will degrade the quality and reliability of the fresh water pumped from the southern edge of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which supplies water to Los Angeles' residents, by increasing salinity.

The NRDC says the L.A. Department of Water and Power is already aware of the issue.

But wait, there's more. (Al Gore was right. Maybe). Summers will get even hotter. Welcome to Rialto, everyone, even you Westsiders. Because temps will go up by 3.6 to 9 degrees by the end of the century.

Steve Fleischli, senior attorney in the Water Program at NRDC:

Los Angeles is taking important steps to address climate change's impact on water, providing a positive example for others to look to. Our hope is that communities throughout the Pacific Coast region and nationwide will take a cue from Los Angeles and begin the process of preparing for climate change with the same seriousness as emergency preparedness planning.

So grab a Boogie board. And stake a claim just inland from Geffen's place.

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]


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