Key Idea The availability of freshwater is likely to be reduced, with significant implications for island communities, economies, and resources.

Most island communities in the Pacific and Caribbean have limited sources of freshwater. Many islands depend on freshwater lenses below the surface, which are recharged by precipitation. Changes in precipitation, such as the significant decreases projected for the Caribbean, are thus a great concern. Sea-level rise also affects island water supplies by causing salt water to contaminate the freshwater lens and by causing an increased frequency of flooding due to storm high tides. Water pollution (such as from agriculture or sewage), exacerbated by storms and floods, can contaminate freshwater supplies, affecting public health.

(The Resource and this Key Idea include a diagram of an island freshwater lens.)


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