Story at a glance:
- The Florida Keys could soon be flooded underwater, and the county does not have enough money to raise the street levels.
- The local government may have to prioritize what to save.
- It will take $1.8 billion over the next 25 years to raise the streets and add drains, pump stations and plants.
The Florida Keys are facing a climate change disaster caused by rising sea levels.
On Monday, Florida officials met in the city of Marathon and said they plan on elevating the streets throughout the Keys to prevent flooding, albeit they do not have all the resources to accomplish this, The Guardian reported.
With many of the Keys residents being a mix between wealthier and older white people, as well as more impoverished Hispanic people, the homes of many in the described sunshine-drenched state will be overtaken by a siege of water.
The funding to prevent these floods from happening is crucial, as The Guardian reports. Without it, the Keys will be among the first places in the U.S. where property will be seized due to concerns of the rising tides.
“The water is coming and we can’t stop it,” said Michelle Coldiron, mayor of Monroe County, which is where the Keys are located. “Some homes will have to be elevated, some will have to be bought out. It’s very difficult to have these conversations with homeowners, because this is where they live. It can get very emotional.”
Geographer at the University of Miami Harold Wanless said there will be a day when people can not afford to pay their mortgages or insurance for homes before the entire Keys is under water, saying, “People don’t have a concept of what sea level rise will do to them. They just can’t conceive it.”
On Monday, Monroe County announced plans to spend $1.8 billion in the next 25 years to raise 150 miles of the road in the Keys, adding more drains, pump stations and vegetation to absorb the seawater. It’s currently unclear where the funding will come from, and without it, officials will be forced to make tough choices.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA